BitTorrent lay-offs

As an open-source technology protocol, the file-sharing system BitTorrent represents about half the world's Internet traffic by some measures. But the San Francisco company, BitTorrent, is showing signs of serious trouble while it tries to commercialize the technology.

BitTorrent has informed about half its employees, or 18 people, that they were being let go, according to a person familiar with events inside the company. That is in addition to a 20 percent staff reduction in August. In addition, a co-founder, Ashwin Navin, said yesterday that he was leaving the company, although he informed the board of directors of his exit in March.

A person with knowledge of BitTorrent's plans also said the company would soon close its BitTorrent Entertainment Network, once conceived as a rival to iTunes. The company, with its remaining 20 employees, will focus on BitTorrent DNA, a content delivery network that helps media and video game companies distribute their products cheaply over the Internet.

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