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Comcast acquires BitTorrent for $53bn

'Our cheapest option'

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April Fools Just hours after acquiring BitTorrent Incorporated for $53bn in cash and stock, Comcast has shutdown the tiny San Francisco company, assuring customers and shareholders that its doors will never reopen.

Last week, the big-name American ISP told the world it would find a way of managing its cable network without discriminating against BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer traffic. But the fix has come much sooner than expected.

"There were two ways forward," said Comcast executive vice president David Cohen in a canned statement. "We could either reconfigure our network to treat BitTorrent like any other application or buy BitTorrent Inc. and do our best to destroy the entire protocol. At $53bn, destroying the protocol was the cheaper option."

Cohen said the company also intends to purchase Apple and IBM, with an eye on destroying both iChat and Lotus Notes – two other applications Comcast has been unable to manage without annoying all but three other people on the planet. "Buying Apple will cost us a pretty penny," Cohen explained. "But it’s still cheaper than letting iChat run like it’s supposed to run."

The Federal Trade Commission has yet to approve Comcast’s acquisition of BitTorrent, but Comcast doesn’t care. "We approved the deal on our own," the company told The Wall Street Journal. "Congress doesn't empower the FTC to approve mergers and acquisitions involving Comcast or any other company that has no respect for government authority."

After rubber-stamping its own deal, Comcast promptly fired BitTorrent’s entire staff, razed its offices, unplugged its data center, and forced founder Bram Cohen to change his name. "I will not be confused with a bandwidth hog," said David Cohen.

When we phoned Comcast for comment, a company spokesman denied that we existed. When we assured him that we did, he said "That’s not what I’m told."

Yes, BitTorrent Inc. oversees only a portion of BitTorrent traffic on the net, but according to independent researcher Jake Gittes, Comcast has also been systematically poisoning BitTorrent users for nearly a year and a half. "I first noticed the bodies in late 2006," Gittes told us. "And by the spring, I could prove Comcast was killing almost 300 file-sharers a month."

Speaking to The Journal, Comcast acknowledged the killings, but it preferred to call them "reasonable network management". ®

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