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Online TV firm Joost kills desktop app

NBC and Fox joint venture to focus on Flash

Video-streaming site Joost is shutting down its desktop application and turning all of its attention to its Flash-based site. As of today, the program will cease to function.

The move is not surprising; after the flash site was up, it was only a matter of time before the Joost interface was completely discontinued. Using the website allows Joost to compete with more popular video streaming sites like Hulu, Veoh, and AOL video in the US.

Joost's desktop program relied on P2P software - the same technology that is the basis for BitTorrent, Kazaa, and even Skype. While that gave it a few advantages, such as the ability to handle larger demands on its servers and lower bandwidth costs, Joost found itself struggling in the face of stronger competition that launched shortly after Joost's own debut.

Hulu - a joint venture started by NBC Universal and Fox - launched in the US in October 2007 with a vast library of premium content such as TV shows like 'The Office' and later added titles from Comedy Central, like 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report'. Joost developed some content deals with companies like CBS and Viacom, but with a much smaller and largely niche content library, the site soon found itself struggling against its larger competitors.

Despite its shortcomings, Joost is still trying to stay ahead of its larger rivals. Earlier this month Joost launched an iPhone app albeit to tepid reviews, and it is one of the first video sites to sign on with Facebook Connect. However, it seems unlikely that mobile availability and social networking will be enough to keep it afloat. As it stands right now, Joost's biggest strength is its ability to reach international audiences.

PC World US magazine


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