Speeding up iTunes downloads, the Israeli way

Downloading movies stinks, so SpeedBit wants to make money out of relieving the tension.

Yossi Vardi, the guy who helped bring instant messaging to the world, is now trying to speed up video downloads.

Vardi is an investor in Haifa-based SpeedBit, which sells an application for speeding up downloads of games, videos and music. He claimed that by using the application, the download of a movie decreases from more than an hour to 22 minutes.

Downloading movies, of course, will get worse as high definition spreads. Some of these download services have received their share of customer complaints.

"It's the fastest growing application ever," he said, during a hallway conversation at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit taking place this week. "We're growing faster than Skype."

I haven't had time to verify that, but they do have a lot of downloads. They released their first product in 1999, and now claim that 142 million people have downloaded SpeedBit Download Accelerator Plus.

Sales of videos on iTunes have helped business, he added.

Vardi, along with Yair Goldfinger and others, were behind Mirabilis, which created the instant-messaging client ICQ. AOL bought the company in 1998 for around $287 million. It also helped Israel get into the Internet business.

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