Roundup: China stimulus plan boosts markets, Circuit City bankrupt, BitTorrent layoffs

Here’s the latest action:


China’s stimulus plan buoys stock market: China’s plan to spend $586 billion on infrastructure helped the country’s markets regain upward growth.

Circuit City files for bankruptcy: At a time when tech goods sales are still healthy, retail chain succumbs. The chain cited an erosion of vendor confidence and weak consumer demand due to the worldwide economic turmoil.

BitTorent in trouble: Peer-to-peer pioneer Bittorrent has cut half its team and cofounder Ashwin Navin has resigned. Eric Klinker, chief technology officer, is now CEO.

New York Times faces serious cash crunch: If you ignore the potential sale value of The New York Times’ consolidated businesses, the company has a negative net worth, and it owes payments on the majority of a $400 million debt in the next six months.

Mark Zuckerberg’s “second law of social media”: The Facebook chief executive said at the Web. 2.0 Summit last week in San Francisco that he expects people to share twice as much data next year as they did this year. Pundit Nick Carr says he’s troubled by the revelation of so much intimate data.

Inventor works on hybrid electric car: Segway inventor Dean Kamen has combined a Stirling engine with a battery-powered electric vehicle based on the Ford Think to create a fully decoupled electric hybrid car that can run on almost any fuel. The ThinkCity car will have a battery capable of 62 miles per hour and a range of 126 miles.

IBM gives chip startups access to high-end chip factories: Hoping to give startups an edge in competition with Intel and other big chip makers, IBM is making its 45-nanometer chip manufacturing process available to its customers. IBM is already a big foundry, or contract chip manufacturer, and this move should help attract more customers.

Intel reveals new health care plan: The company introduces a technology to help homebound patients with chronic medical problems. Intel is offering new hardware and software tools aimed at improving treatment for diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. The Wall Street Journal has more.

Google hints at future open platform: At the Web 2.0 Summit last week in San Francisco, Google executive Dave Girouard said that the company’s goal is to open up Google’s software development stack to outside developers.

Silicon Valley drowning in underwater stock options: Employers may find it difficult to attract or retain employees with options unless they reprice them.

Web attacks getting worse: Over the past seven years, distributed denial attacks against the Web’s largest operators have grown dramatically, with the amount of data thrown into each attack growing many times over.

Cyworld retreats from U.S. market:
South Korea’s largest social network is backing out of plan to expand in the U.S. The service didn’t get traction here, where MySpace and Facebook dominate.

Microsoft tries to get Verizon as a mobile search partner:
Hoping to steal a customer from Google, Microsoft is offering a sweeter deal to put its search service and ads on Verizon phones. Microsoft is offering more generous revenue-sharing in its offer.

Venture firm to depart Silicon Valley: 3i Group, based in England, said it will close its office in Silicon Valley as it shifts to focus more on growth equity, VentureWire reported.

Facebook’s Sandberg keynotes on valley philanthropic effort:
The Full Circle Fund’s “PHILANTHROPY REMIXED: A new generation in motion” event coming up this week in San Francisco will feature a keynote from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who was instrumental in launching Google’s philanthropic arm. It will be held on Thursday, November 13, 2008, 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Tickets on sale at www.fullcirclefund.org.