Akamai (AKAM), the Cambridge, Mass.-based content delivery network company, has enjoyed a near monopoly of the lucrative CDN business for a very long time. But now that lead is coming under pressure from all sorts of competitors, many of them upstarts that are desperate to carve out a niche.
BitGravity, of Burlingame, Calif., is the latest to join the party and is focusing mostly on video. Since video files tend to be larger and need more hand-holding, it makes sense for BitGravity to take a focused approach. Move Networks is taking a similar tact, and has signed up some big names. Of course, Akamai has its own plans for HD video.
Regardless of the focus, the CDN business has become highly competitive and is getting to a point of commoditization, resulting in fierce price wars. The players in this space now include Akamai, Level 3 (LVLT), Limelight Networks (LLNW), Savvis, EdgeCast, and BitGravity.
I think the world of CDN is very quickly going to move into value-added services, including the layering of P2P on top of CDNs. The ongoing commoditization in the near term might impact Akamai (as reflected in its stock price), but ultimately it has enough resources to swat away the competition.
Meanwhile, companies like BitGravity can defy gravity.