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Kim Dotcom’s Mega inks Telecom deal, releases Android app

Kim Dotcom’s Mega file sharing service is now being hosted by Telecom.

Mega CEO Vikram Kumar tells NBR ONLINE that Telecom’s Gen-i services division has been hosting the service for a week (the Telecom unit has a history with the giant German; it handled the $100,000 project to hook his mansion to fibre in the quieter times before his arrest on piracy, money laundering and racketeering charges).

When Mega launched on January 20 this year, it was hosted solely by Cogent Systems in Germany.

The diversification strategy finally underway sees the service – boasting 250 million files from 3.5 million members - now hosted in Germany (with Cogent), Luxembourg (with, owned by Mega investor Xavier Buck) and NZ.

Kumar says Gen-i will account for around 10% of Mega's capacity. Neither side will comment on terms.

Other hosts will be added in more locations, and existing capacity added at current sites.

Users of Kim Dotcom’s original file sharing service, Megaupload, lost all their files, which were concentrated largely with a single host in the US.

Pre-launch, Dotcom outlined two protections for Mega users. One, their files are encrypted, two a distributed network would make it impossible for any single government to raid the service (and encryption means there are no trust issues with multiple hosts.

For now, Mega islands
The distributed setup is a work in progress.

Germany, Luxembourg and NZ do not mirror each other but “work as independent storage nodes,” Kumar tells NBR.

Telecom is hosting files for NZ, Australia and various parts of the Pacific.

Twin sites coming
Dotcom says Mega is the most legaled startup in history, and puts forward well-reasoned arguments why it is above board, its Swiss bank style encryption is no issue, why it's no different from Dropbox and other similar services. Yet it's also a central tenant of his world view that the US and NZ governments do not always act in a logical or just fashion. So if say, the US made an evil move and leaned on NZ authorities to raid Telecom, I would lose my files?

Yes, as things stand.

“Our goal is to have each file stored on at least two storage nodes in different countries,” Kumar tells NBR.

“At this stage, with rapid growth and constrained financial resources, this has not yet been achieved.”

He adds, “Mega recommends that people have another or backup copy of their files. This could be on a person's own computer or another cloud storage provider.”

Android app, iOS on way
Another step forward today has seen Mega release an Android app, helping to close the feature gap on market leader Dropbox.

It has the usual file upload/download and management options, and lets you automatically sync photos and videos (see a quick feature overview on Google's Play store here; Mega's Android app blog here).

Kumar says an iPhone app is with Apple for approval, and should be available in a couple of weeks.

Mega is also just days away from the official release of its API (application programming interface) which will help third parties make their own mobile apps, and other apps around Mega – Kumar sees an app for sharing business files as one opportunity (Dropbox has recently been pushing its shared data accounts for business).

Mega offers 50GB free – far ahead of the free offerings from Microsoft SkyDrive (7GB), Apple iCloud (5GB), Google Drive and Dropbox (2GB; like all contenders, Dropbox has various bundles and promotions with bonus data, such as the 50GB for two years that comes with various Samsung phones and tablets).

Asked how many Mega users have paid for extra storage (see options here) Kumar says “a few thousand.”

The company is focusing on growth, and adding services over boosting paid members at this point. The company is advertising for two lead developers to help push things along.

What of Megabox, the commercial music service Kim Dotcom promised six months after Mega’s launch? Or the associated MegaKey (which will give you fee music if you install a browser plug-in that substitutes Mega ads as you surf the web)? Or MegaMovie?

All fall under Dotcom’s Hong Kong companies, so are outside Kumar’s domain.

Some readers will recall Kim Dotcom’s vision for a massive NZ server farm that hosts Mega, and in turn becomes the anchor customer for a new cable to the US, in which Mega might invest. For now, that one’s on the backburner; Dotcom says it could coexist with the distributed host setup.

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Comments and questions

The Telecom relationship bodes well for the ongoing success of Dotcom's new business. The haters and those with huge egos are going to have a whale of a time trying to trash talk the relentless success of this man.

Businessman, entrepreneur, progress? ... we can't have that! Someone should throw him to the USA.

Whether this venture succeeds or not, this shows the sort of entrepreneurial thinking that NZ needs.
He should be supported and encouraged rather than hounded out by those with other agendas.