The vultures are circling CDN player Limelight after its $45 million patent loss. These include the plaintiff itself, Akamai, according to suggestions on a number of Internet news sites over the last few days. Limelight lost its patent battle with Akamai Friday and while Limelight says it will appeal, its share price has tanked dropping 15 percent to around $4.30, a far cry from its IPO glory when shares peaked above $24 only last June.
Silicon Alley Insider is carrying a story it claims is doing the CDN rounds that Akamai made two bids for Limelight during the actual jury trial. Other players being talked up include Microsoft and telcos AT&T and Level 3. Industry guru Dan Rayburn has written a whole article speculating why Level 3 is a good fit. Pity about all that debt at a time where credit is a very dirty word.
Akamai, of course, has form having bought Speedera during a similar patent battle in 2005. A Limelight-Akamai combo however would almost certainly raise competition issues in Washington with many media operators definitely not keen to have Akamai the all-powerful player in the video-delivery space.
Also under conjecture is the technical impact of the patent decision. Akamai at its broadest is asserting its 703 patent covers any publisher that has any embedded content that is not delivered under the control of the content producer. This could include non-video content and extend to ad-networks and even web-hosting companies. On the other hand, the decision is very much focused on cached content delivered to a browser, which leaves out downloads, streaming and direct-to-a-device delivery. The ambit of the decision is sure to be part of the appeal and one Limelight licensee, Microsoft, is certain to be a key observer at the court.
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AT&T late last year began talking about CDN deployments