One Day Later: BitTorrent Confirms Layoffs

BitTorrent today confirmed a report that it laid off part of its staff, though it disputed the number of people let go and the nature of the layoffs. The news had come to light after Valleywag ran a tip alleging the company’s cutbacks were due to a failed attempt to sell off its consumer business. BitTorrent said the layoffs were “distributed across our organization, rather than focused on a single department.”

BitTorrent also admitted that “the company has indeed been involved in strategic discussions with potential partners who are interested in the BitTorrent online store.” It said those talks were ongoing (rather than over).

Interestingly, BitTorrent PR is now trying to get Valleywag to give up the identity of its source, which seems an unreasonable demand and to some extent a damning admission of more widespread problems. Valleywag’s tipster had also charged that cutbacks had to do with FCC network neutrality discussions (something that wasn’t fully explained) and that BitTorrent was considering making its now core product, content delivery infrastructure, available for free.

Full statement follows:

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. 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.

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.

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