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Kazaa to overtake ICQ

File-sharing software Kazaa will soon surpass ICQ to become the most popular free program on the Web, according to owner Sharman Networks.

File-sharing software Kazaa will soon surpass ICQ to become the most popular free program on the Web, according to owner Sharman Networks.

Sharman Networks expects Kazaa to achieve this feat in the next 24 hours.

As of Thursday U.S. time, ICQ has been downloaded 229,363,307 times, according to statistics from software download site Download.com, a portal operated by CNET Networks, the parent company of CNETAsia. Kazaa trails closely behind with 229,150,955 downloads.

Sharman Networks said Kazaa has been receiving an average of 366,000 downloads per day, whereas the ICQ application has been receiving an average of 50,000 downloads per day.

"The entire Sharman Networks team thanks users worldwide for embracing Kazaa Media Desktop," said Sharman Networks CEO Nikki Hemming. "Our vision from inception was to develop and prove a model for the distribution of licensed content."

Peer to peer networks such as Kazaa received a boost last month when U.S. Federal Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that the networks were legal, saying the companies that distributed the software were no different to those that sold video recorders.

Sharman Networks offers licensed files including music, movies, games and software through its partnership with Altnet.