Following the revelations of systems administrator Edward Snowden, millions of eyes were opened to our online vulnerability. Total privacy, something presumed by many to be as simple as securing a password, was shown to be an easily shattered illusion.
As the need for heightened security filtered down to the masses, companies stepped into the frame offering products and services to help people maintain their privacy online. VPN companies are still riding this wave of popularity and are now going to even greater lengths to assure customers of their commitment to security.
Another company exploiting the security niche is Mega, the cloud-storage service founded by Kim Dotcom. While the flamboyant German reportedly has little to do with the company on a day to day basis, his family still owns shares in the operation. And for a company with a zero dollar marketing spend, Dotcom remains a valuable promotional asset.
In one of his regular updates, this morning the Megaupload founder announced that Mega is preparing to launch a new product into the communications market.
“Mega will soon release a fully encrypted and browser based video call & chat service including high-speed file transfers. Bye bye Skype,” Dotcom teased.
Although no official announcement has been made, it’s believed that the product will be called “MegaChat”, a naming convention that would certainly fit with previous Dotcom projects.
The service will offer end-to-end encryption and, reading between the lines of Dotcom’s statements, won’t be based in the backyard of his arch-rivals.
“No US based online service provider can be trusted with your data. Skype has no choice. They must provide the US Government with backdoors,” Dotcom says.
While clearly ambitious, Mega is already somewhat behind with plans for expansion outside of its core business of encrypted file-storage. It was previously reported that Mega’s chat/video product would be released to the public in the second quarter of 2014. Its encrypted email service is also yet to see the light.
That being said, an early 2015 release for “MegaChat” would be a welcome development for the company. After first announcing plans to go public in March 2014, Mega now has eyes on an early 2015 NZX listing.
The listing is planned via a reverse takeover of NZ-based TRS Investments but that too has not run entirely smoothly. A shareholders’ vote at the company has been pushed back several times and is not expected to arrive sooner than the end of January.
For investors, potential is there. Mega currently has in excess of 15 million users and while the majority take advantage of the company’s free product, upgrades become more likely as users warm to the service. The advent of additional services will also boost its appeal but the hope is they will also improve the company’s bottom line.
Earlier this month Mega chief executive Graham Gaylard told Stuff that the company is not yet making money and is instead focusing on growth. However, there is profit to be made in this sector and it seems likely that the company will secure and develop its position during 2015.