I’m surprised it took this long, but word has filtered out about a streaming, peer-to-peer video application that Microsoft is backing, called LiveStation. Ars Technica got out the megaphone and started yelling about how Microsoft had announced a “Joost killer” — the “fill-in-the-blank killer” being one of the most popular memes in tech-land by far — but the writer of the piece has modified his original post after one of the developers of the app posted a comment taking issue with the Joost-killer angle.
As pointed out by the LiveStation staffer — who actually works for a company called Skinkers, which Microsoft owns a stake in — and by Mike Arrington in his post at TechCrunch, LiveStation just does streaming of live broadcasts and not archived shows, and therefore isn’t a direct competitor with Joost or Babelgum.com or the other TV-style apps, which stream archived content. If anything, it’s a competitor with something like Slingbox, which can stream your existing TV signal over the Internet, or with RealNetworks (Om Malik has a typically level-headed post on it). And as more than one person has pointed out already, the key with LiveStation — as with Joost and any other app — is content. Will Microsoft be able to get access to compelling content? If not, then LiveStation will become DeadStation pretty quickly. My friend Steve O’Hear has a review of LiveStation here.