BitTorrent Inc. Lays Off Close to a Third of its Workforce
BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the popular uTorrent file-sharing client, has laid off close to a third of its U.S. workforce. Speaking with TorrentFreak a source close to the company says that up to 45 workers had their contracts terminated Thursday, “gutting” the company’s advertising team and pushing more work to its offices in Minsk, Belarus.
During the past few years BitTorrent Inc. has grown at a surprising rate, taking on increasing numbers of employees to fill various roles at the expanding company.
On Thursday, however, things took a turn for the worse. Rumors began to spread that BitTorrent Inc. had laid off dozens of staff in its biggest shake up since 2008, yet no official statement was forthcoming from the company.
Then on Friday two separate sources, at least one of whom was a former employee at the San Franciso-based company, revealed the scale of the layoffs.
“About 40-45 people in their US office just got laid off which represents a large percentage of the US workforce,” one of the sources revealed. Another described the cutting of “around a third” of an estimated 150 U.S.-based employees.
“The Ads team has been gutted as have several other groups – more development work is being sent to the BitTorrent team in Minsk. Only one person from senior management was let go, as is often the case in these types of things,” an insider told TF.
In comments to Buzzfeed, BitTorrent Inc. put a positive spin on events, describing the layoffs as a “realignment” of the business.
“We’ve recently realigned resources based on a regular evaluation of the business,” a spokesperson said. “Regrettably, this did include some employee departures. The business however, remains healthy, profitable and growing.”
A source close to the company painted a slightly different picture, however.
“The whole point is to save money and to try and return the company to profitability since it expanded its headcount way too fast and based on very unrealistic revenue projections. The morale, as you can imagine, is pretty low just now,” the source said.
One person presumed to be safe is Christian Averill, who was promoted to Vice President, Communications & Brand last month.
“My efforts will be focused on having our brands such as Bundle and Sync stand on their own and have a strong mind share in the market,” he said.
Averill’s promotion suggests that BitTorrent intends to continue efforts to put Sync and its content distribution deals front and center of its business. Meanwhile, its uTorrent and BitTorrent clients will continue to generate most of the company’s revenues.