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P2P rivals flock to BitTorrent

Once-separate swapping technologies increasingly find homes under the same digital roof. The latest: Morpheus adds BitTorrent support.

It's the season for romance in the file-swapping world, too.

Once-separate peer-to-peer technologies are increasingly finding homes under the same digital roof, as companies seek to improve their own software by drawing on their rivals' strengths.

On Thursday, StreamCast Networks added support for the popular BitTorrent technology to its Morpheus software, the company said. BitTorrent has become a favorite of swappers looking to download big files such as TV shows, movies and software, but it does not have a built-in search mechanism like Morpheus, Kazaa and other networks.

"Until now, the only readily available way for users to find and obtain files and content using BitTorrent was both inefficient and, oftentimes, inaccurate," said Michael Weiss, chief executive officer of StreamCast Networks. "Morpheus is able to provide a far better user experience."

Morpheus' move, along with a spate of releases from rival companies in the past few days, is a clear sign that the impending Supreme Court ruling hanging over the peer-to-peer business has done little to slow developers' scramble for competitive position.

Also on Thursday, Lime Wire released a new version of its software that contains improved ability to function through firewalls.

Newcomer Exeem, which like Mopheus is trying to merge traditional peer-to-peer search capabilities with the fast download powers of BitTorrent, released a new version of its program that no longer requires the unpopular Cydoor advertising software to be installed. Many in the file-swapping community had been deeply critical of the software's release after learning Cydoor was included.

BitTorrent has been the darling of the file-swapping world for much of the last year, however. eDonkey, now the most widely used file-swapping application, also provides support for BitTorrent.