Truths, Rumors and Lies: BitTorrent and Rocketboom

BitTorrent will lay off its sales and marketing department, a total of 12 employees, Valleywag reported this morning, based on a tip from an alleged company insider. The company has also supposedly failed to complete a deal to sell its neglected consumer-facing site to Best Buy for $15 million, and is considering making its network accelerator service free. We’ve been searching around for more information, and will update when we have anything. The normally very responsive BitTorrent PR isn’t returning emails or calls at the moment.

BitTorrent for a while was insisting that it would maintain both its consumer and enterprise businesses, but softened its language somewhat when it brought in a new CEO from the enterprise world this spring. The company also kept assuring us that it didn’t need additional funding. So is Valleywag’s report true? It seems logical to us that layoffs would accompany a change in direction, but the new CEO came in months ago. Like I said, we’ll let you know if we hear more. Or let us know if you do.


Update, Thursday 3 p.m. PST
: BitTorrent confirms layoffs, but not everything else.

Meanwhile, some are characterizing Rocketboom‘s new, exclusive syndication deal with Sony as an acquisition. Specifically, “Sony Pictures TV Acquires Rocketboom.com” was the Mediaweek headline. To make sure we weren’t taking crazy pills, we checked with Rocketboom‘s Andrew Baron, who replied via email, “rocketboom WAS NOT BOUGHT!” He added, “The deal was for distribution and advertising and has a limited term.”

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