• WinMX lives on in Japan
  • WinMX lives on in Japan
    Written by battye
    Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:16 pm

    Most of WinMX's users left the one time market leading P2P program in late 2005, when the developers gave in to the RIAA's cease and desist order. Thanks to efforts by various loyal individuals and supporter groups in the greater WinMX community, just because the owners of WinMX literally pulled the plug on the all important WinMX servers didn't mean that the program would die. Within weeks people were finding ways around the situation imposed on them, and in no time at all the program was working again - albeit if it required heavy patching.

    Many people have moved on to other file sharing programs. LimeWire is an open source P2P program, and as such, it could effectively live on forever, as the source code is openly available for modification and improvement. While WinMX has passed its heyday, and the number of WinMX users in the key American demographic has declined significantly, there is one region where there have never been so many WinMX users.

    An online survey taken around Christmas last year found that in Japan, file sharing use, overall, has increased by 180% since Christmas in 2006. On the other end of the spectrum, paid downloads have increased by just 3.5%. Embarrassing in comparison.

    The perennial favourite program by Japanese file sharers is Winny, and has been for some time now. Winny is a program strikingly similar to WinMX, with much of the interface bearing resemblance to WinMX bar the Japanese language strings. In fact, WinMX was the inspiration for Winny - the last two letters "NY" are each one letter above the "MX" of WinMX.

    Winny boasts a share of 27% in the Japanese P2P market, and it has gained extensive media publicity in recent times due to the arrest of developer Isamu Kaneko. The developer has so much public support that a website set up to raise funds for his defense raised USD$100,000 in a fortnight.

    Due to the fall of WinMX, Limewire has climbed up in recent years to 19% in Japan. But still, WinMX does exceedingly well, with 15% of the market share. It is believed that over 2 million Japanese file sharers use WinMX, although this has never been confirmed.

    It is remarkable to think that for a country known for innovating, that they are still using WinMX - a program last updated in 2004. Perhaps it is a sense of "using what you're used to" or that blend of simple and complicated in WinMX that appeals. Regardless of the reason, it would appear that while WinMX can maintain its popularity in Japan there will continue to be a place for everyone's favourite P2P software.
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