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2AM Suspends Operations of Israeli R&D Center

[ISRAEL] 2AM, a peer-to-peer interactive software company based in New Jersey, has suspended the operations of its Israeli R&D center, laying off some 50 employees, Israeli chief operations officer Meir Ekstein said Sunday, confirming a report that appeared in Friday's Jerusalem Post.

"We're clinging to hope. Negotiations are continuing, and we're exploring a number of options," Ekstein said. As for whether the idled employees will be rehired in the event of renewed investment, he stressed that "everything is possible."

According to Ekstein, operations of the U.S. office have not been affected for the time being. A conclusive picture of the company's future in Israel should be known within two weeks, he said.

2AM, which began operations as an online game developer in 1996, applied its technology into the broader sphere of peer-to-peer computing in recent years.

The company's technological assets include its patented 2AM Creation platform, which was designed to allow client computers to operate over the Internet in unison, harnessing the CPU, bandwidth and memory of each client to create what the company called a "virtual supercomputer" capable of running large real-time applications.

2AM's StreamingPeer software was developed with an eye to streaming multimedia, utilizing the company's peer-to-peer technology to enhance the speed and quality of rich media broadband content.

Online gaming continued to be an important component of the company's operations. The 2AM Game Club enabled vast numbers of online players to compete against each other in games of strategy after downloading the client software.

The company had received investment capital from IDT Corp, a global telecommunications company. The Jerusalem Post has reported that the company has signed contracts with EarthLink, Prodigy, and various Internet service providers for access to the company's multi-user games.



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