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BitTorrent, Inc. Addresses Downsizing, Refutes Rumors
August 7, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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There was a bit of a BitTorrent shakeup in the news yesterday, as ValleyWag reported that BitTorrent, Inc. eliminated its sales and marketing department - or 20% of its workforce. According to the report, these layoffs were a result of a failed $15 million deal to sell BitTorrent's BEN (BitTorrent Entertainment Networks) to BestBuy.

Rumors being what they are, Slyck initially held off reporting on this surprising development. Surprising because BitTorrent, Inc. is in the driver's seat of the most powerful file-sharing application in the world. Currently, there's no other network, protocol, or community that shares BitTorrent's dimensions. To put the ubiquity of BitTorrent into perspective, The Pirate Bay alone has over 10 million simultaneous individuals sharing files at this very moment. All other minor P2P networks combined fail to reach this number.

The big question is, how accurate are these reports? After a day of radio silence, BitTorrent, Inc. addressed the situation. BitTorrent immediately addressed to Slyck.com that they are indeed laying off some employees, however, they are unrelated to any imminent failure of the entertainment store, nor are they focused on one department.

"There have been inaccurate reports published this week regarding layoffs at BitTorrent, Inc. We would like to clarify that BitTorrent remains focused on generating the most value for our partners and customers to drive long-term success. While layoffs are always a difficult course of action, we have reduced our staff to better align our resources around our core content delivery infrastructure business. Contrary to published reports, we reduced less than 20% of our team and those impacted were distributed across our organization, rather than focused on a single department."

Additionally, BitTorrent addressed whether rumored portions of business would be eliminated, such as their DNA service. This too was denied.

"Also contrary to published reports, the layoffs were unrelated to any ongoing discussions to divest a portion of our business. That claim is irresponsible “journalism” and outright false. While it is our policy to not comment on rumors, the company has indeed been involved in strategic discussions with potential partners who are interested in the BitTorrent online store. These discussions continue."

BitTorrent, Inc. also addressed the longevity of its SDK and DNA services. Contrary to printed reports, these services will remain intact.

"With the explosive growth of online video, peer-to-peer technology will continue to be an integral part of the Internet infrastructure as it enables the most efficient distribution of large files. Not only is BitTorrent the global leader in the P2P space with the largest client footprint, but we are working closely with the world’s leading ISPs, including Comcast, and standards bodies such as the IETF to implement solutions that will provide the best P2P user experience to accommodate all network topologies."

"BitTorrent is seeing healthy demand for its Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA) service and its Software Development Kit (SDK), which brings rich Internet media to the TV. We are working with many online video, gaming, software and hardware companies to integrate BitTorrent technology. As such, our top priority is to deliver the most valuable and efficient solutions to the BitTorrent community and technology marketplace."

To wrap things up, yes, there are layoffs happening at BitTorrent, Inc. However, BitTorrent attests that these layoffs are not specific to one department, nor are they the result of a failed business plan with Best Buy. The BEN, SKD and DNA services will all still be here tomorrow, and so will their sales and marketing department.


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BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Inc.

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