Mega launches dev kit, approached by Smart TV maker

By Pat Pilcher

Mega’s CEO, Vikram Kumar reveals the future direction for online file storage service started by Kim Dotcom and an approach by a smart TV manufacturer.
Mega founder Kim Dotcom, with Vikram Kumar, chief executive. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today
Mega founder Kim Dotcom, with Vikram Kumar, chief executive. Photo / Hawkes Bay Today

PP: So How goes it at Mega, you've been there for how long?

VK: ...Coming up to 2 months.... it's going very well - it's going exactly as I had hoped it would, which is lots of interesting things, lots of new things. I haven't worked for a start-up for over 12 or 13 years now, so it's good to back into that environment, but it not your routine start up, you know I don't think it'd ever be working with Kim

PP: So what's that like?

VK: Well he's larger than life - personality wise, but besides him, there's also a whole lot of really smart and hard working people at Mega and I'm really enjoying learning new things. I think the overall reason I joined Mega was that it has the very real potential to become a global internet company out of New Zealand and I think that is still very much true.

PP: So what's next for Mega, where to from here?

VK: So the basic Mega product still hasn't been built out. what I mean by basic is the equivalent to say dropbox. So people have multiple devices and they want to sync their files across such as tablets, smartphones, laptops etc. and Mega launched with browser support and recently we launched support for mobile browsers. So it's all browser based. The next step is to build out android apps, an IOS app so we can have an implementation on multiple platforms.

So that's like stage one, building up a base. The second one on top of that is once you've built up a base we've actually already built out the ability for one mega user to message another Mega user.

PP: Are we talking email, social networking or what?

VK: We'll start with email, then it'll go into chat, voice, video... so it's not really social it's more one to one you know like Skype. the equivalent of how Gmail which has email and Google talk, Google video chat, that's multiple forms of communication that are linked back to a secured and encrypted communication

PP: So it is all encrypted?

VK: 100 per cent

PP: Even mobile voice and data?

VK: Yep.

VK: And stage 3 will be applications like calendars, word processors, spreadsheets... just like Google docs so what I find really interesting is that Mega's also building out an open API so I expect that we'll see a rich open ecosystem of apps based on top of Mega so for example take Smart TVs, in the next 2 or 3 years Smart TVs will become the default. Mega will offer Smart TV makers you have all the apps on the TV but you'll need storage somewhere so Mega will offer Smart TV makers APIs that will allow the smart TV to use Mega as their back end

PP: Have there been any approaches by any Smart TV makers?

VK: There is some discussion going on with one of them but it is still early days. but the next launch with Mega is next week with a software development kit, or SDK which is essentially the API plus documentation, so everything built on mega including Mega's own messaging and products and other smart applications will all use the SDK which means that things are more secure won't be broken by bad application implementations

PP: That brings me to my next question - What impact have the new laws around the GCSB's ability lawfully intercept data had on Mega?

VK: So at the moment from what I can make out from the Minister Amy Adams, whatever she's put out, it doesn't seem to be aimed at anyone beyond network operators that's the critical thing, as at the moment the network operator is defined very in the traditional telco sense.

Traditional telcos however are saying - hang on - it's not only our normal legacy calls that you can make and they can be intercepted, and may have national security implications, so if you make the same call using Skype that isn't subject to the current intercept arrangements.

PP: So would the telcos be liable even though apps like Skype are only using their broadband networks?

VK: This particular law requires that telco operators to provide intercept capabilities, and in this case work with the GCSB on national security issues, and what the law proposes is an escalated fine. It not a liability approach it's a "you must comply with this law otherwise we'll fine you" way of doing things.

PP: So how does that sit with Mega?

VK: Well at the moment Mega isn't covered by the definition of network operator, so if the definition of a network operator doesn't change, then it won't be affected at all, it seems that this is the case for the time being. The government will probably change it at some point in time. but they haven't yet. At the moment my view is to keep it running, next month when the law comes out but from what we've heard so far, our guess is that it is not going to affect Mega.

- NZ Herald

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