Mozilla Corporation

Mozilla Corporation
TypeSubsidiary
IndustrySoftware
FoundedAugust 3, 2005; 18 years ago (2005-08-03)
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
Products
Revenue
  • Increase US$826.6 million (2019)
Number of employees
Decrease ~750 (2020)
ParentMozilla Foundation
SubsidiariesMozilla China
Websitewww.mozilla.org

The Mozilla Corporation (stylized as moz://a) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of Internet-related applications such as the Firefox web browser, by a global community of open-source developers, some of whom are employed by the corporation itself. The corporation also distributes and promotes these products. Unlike the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, and the Mozilla open source project, founded by the now defunct Netscape Communications Corporation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity. The Mozilla Corporation reinvests all of its profits back into the Mozilla projects. The Mozilla Corporation's stated aim is to work towards the Mozilla Foundation's public benefit to "promote choice and innovation on the Internet."

A MozillaZine article explained:

The Mozilla Foundation will ultimately control the activities of the Mozilla Corporation and will retain its 100 percent ownership of the new subsidiary. Any profits made by the Mozilla Corporation will be invested back into the Mozilla project. There will be no shareholders, no stock options will be issued and no dividends will be paid. The Mozilla Corporation will not be floating on the stock market and it will be impossible for any company to take over or buy a stake in the subsidiary. The Mozilla Foundation will continue to own the Mozilla trademarks and other intellectual property and will license them to the Mozilla Corporation. The Foundation will also continue to govern the source code repository and control who is allowed to check in.

Establishment

The Mozilla Corporation was established on August 3, 2005, to handle the revenue-related operations of the Mozilla Foundation. As a non-profit, the Mozilla Foundation is limited in terms of the types and amounts of revenue it can have. The Mozilla Corporation, as a taxable organization (essentially, a commercial operation), does not have to comply with such strict rules. Upon its creation, the Mozilla Corporation took over several areas from the Mozilla Foundation, including coordination and integration of the development of Firefox and Thunderbird (by the global free software community) and the management of relationships with businesses.

With the creation of the Mozilla Corporation, the rest of the Mozilla Foundation narrowed its focus to concentrate on the Mozilla project's governance and policy issues. In November 2005, with the release of Mozilla Firefox 1.5, the Mozilla Corporation's website at mozilla.com was unveiled as the new home of the Firefox and Thunderbird products online.

In 2006, the Mozilla Corporation generated $66.8 million in revenue and $19.8 million in expenses, with 85% of that revenue coming from Google for "assigning [Google] as the browser's default search engine, and for click-throughs on ads placed on the ensuing search results pages."

Mozilla Taiwan (Chinese: 美商謀智; pinyin: Měishāng Móuzhì) was a branch of the corporation founded in 19 October 2011 (2011-10-19) that promoted and deployed Mozilla products in Taiwan. It ceased operations on 11 August 2020 due to a "significant restructuring" of its parent company.

Notable events

In March 2006, Jason Calacanis reported a rumor on his blog that Mozilla Corporation gained $72M during the previous year, mainly thanks to the Google search box in the Firefox browser. The rumor was later addressed by Christopher Blizzard, then a member of the board, who wrote on his blog that, "it's not correct, though not off by an order of magnitude." Two years later, TechCrunch wrote: "In return for setting Google as the default search engine on Firefox, Google pays Mozilla a substantial sum – in 2006, the total amounted to around $57 million, or 85% of the company's total revenue. The deal was originally going to expire in 2006, but was later extended to 2008 and then ran through 2011." The deal was extended again another 3 years, until November 2014. Under the deal, Mozilla was to have received from Google another $900 million ($300 million annually), nearly 3 times the previous amount. The partnership to use Google as the default search engine was resumed after a three-year hiatus in 2017.

In August 2006, Microsoft invited Mozilla employees to collaborate to ensure compatibility of Mozilla software with then upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Microsoft offered to host one-to-one at the new open-source facility at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Mozilla accepted the offer.

In March 2014, Mozilla came under some criticism after it appointed Brendan Eich as its new chief executive officer (CEO). In 2008, Eich had made a $1,000 contribution in support of California Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that barred legal recognition of same-sex marriages in California. Three of six Mozilla board members reportedly resigned over the choice of CEO, though Mozilla said the resigning board members had "a variety of reasons" and reasserted its continued commitment to LGBT equality, including same-sex marriage. On April 1, the online dating site OkCupid started displaying visitors using Mozilla Firefox a message urging them to switch to a different web browser, pointing out that 8% of the matches made on OkCupid are between same-sex couples. On April 3, Mozilla announced that Eich had decided to step down as CEO and also leave the board of Mozilla Foundation. This, in turn, prompted criticism from some commentators who criticized the pressure that led Eich to resign. For example, Conor Friedersdorf argued in The Atlantic that "the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo."

In April 2014, Chris Beard, the former chief marketing officer of Mozilla, was appointed interim CEO. Beard was named CEO on July 28 of the same year.

On February 27, 2017, Mozilla acquired the bookmark manager and suggestion service Pocket. In accordance with Mozilla's history of operating as "open by default" and based on comments by Mozilla chief business officer Denelle Dixon-Thayer that Pocket would "become part of the Mozilla open source project", it was reported that Pocket would become open source. Prior to the acquisition, the startup behind Pocket operated it as a closed source, commercial service, and Mozilla published the source code that added a "Save to Pocket" feature to Firefox as open source. As of August 2020, Pocket remains closed source, while the extension remains open source.

In February 2017, Mozilla dissolved its IoT "Connected Devices" initiative, firing around 50 employees, to focus on "Emerging Technologies" like AR, VR and Servo/Rust.

On August 29, 2019, Mozilla and Chris Beard jointly announced that 2019 will be Beard's last year as CEO of Mozilla. In December, Mitchell Baker became the interim CEO, before being named CEO in April 2020.

In January 2020, it was reported that Mozilla would be laying off 70 employees after the new revenue streams could not deliver the expected revenue quickly enough. In August 2020, Mozilla announced restructuring that will close down Mozilla operations in Taipei, Taiwan, and reduce Mozilla's workforce in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. All together, about 250 people would be let go with severance packages and around 60 people would be reassigned to different projects or teams. Mozilla is "reducing investment in some areas such as developer tools, internal tooling, and platform feature development" and reorganizing "security/privacy products" to prioritize revenue-generating projects. Shortly after the announcement of staff cuts, Mozilla insiders leaked information that the Google search deal will be extended until 2023 instead of expiring in 2020, meaning the corporation financial state is stable.

In December 2020, Mozilla closed its headquarters office in Mountain View, citing reduced need for office space due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The title of headquarters went to the San Francisco office.

In May 2023, Mozilla acquired Fakespot, a startup which specializes in identifying fake product reviews on e-commerce websites. Mozilla plans to integrate their technology into Firefox while maintaining its existing website and browser extensions.

Affiliations

Google

The Mozilla Corporation's relationship with Google has been noted in the popular press, especially with regard to their paid referral agreement. Mozilla's original deal with Google to have Google Search as the default web search engine in the browser expired in 2011, but a new deal was struck, where Google agreed to pay Mozilla just under a billion dollars over three years until 2017 in exchange for keeping Google as its default search engine. The price was driven up due to aggressive bidding from Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo!'s presence in the auction as well. Despite the deal, Mozilla Firefox maintains relationships with Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, Baidu, Amazon.com and eBay. The partnership with Google was renewed in 2017 and remains active as of 2022.

Combined income of Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation
Year Total Proportion derived from Google Reference
2005 $52.9 million 95%
2006 $66.9 million 90%
2007 $81 million 88%
2008 $78.6 million 91%
2009 86% [citation needed]
2010 $123 million 84%
2011 $163.5 million 85%
2012 $311 million
2013 $314 million
2014 $420 million
2015 $420 million
2016 $520 million
2017 $562 million
2018 $451 million
2019 $829 million
2020 $497 million

The 2007 release of the anti-phishing protection in Firefox 2 in particular raised considerable controversy: Anti-phishing protection, enabled by default, is based on a list updated twice hourly from Google's servers. The browser also sends a cookie with each update request. Internet privacy advocacy groups have expressed concerns surrounding Google's possible uses for this data, especially since Firefox's privacy policy states that Google may share (non-personally identifying) information gathered through safe browsing with third parties, including business partners.

Following Google CEO Eric Schmidt's comments in December 2009 regarding privacy during a CNBC show, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development suggested that users use the Bing search engine instead of Google search. Google also promoted Firefox through YouTube until the release of Google Chrome.

Yahoo

In November 2014, Mozilla signed a five-year partnership with Yahoo!, making Yahoo! Search the default search engine for Firefox browsers in the US. With the release of Firefox Quantum on November 17, 2017, Google became the default search engine again.

Microsoft

Microsoft's head of Australian operations, Steve Vamos, stated in late 2004 that he did not see Firefox as a threat and that there was not significant demand for the feature-set of Firefox among Microsoft's users. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has used Firefox, but has commented that "it's just another browser, and IE [Microsoft's Internet Explorer] is better".

A Microsoft SEC filing on June 30, 2005, acknowledged that "competitors such as Mozilla offer software that competes with the Internet Explorer Web browsing capabilities of our Windows operating system products." The release of Internet Explorer 7 was fast tracked, and included functionality that was previously available in Firefox and other browsers, such as tabbed browsing and RSS feeds.

Despite the cold reception from Microsoft's top management, the Internet Explorer development team maintains a relationship with Mozilla. They meet regularly to discuss web standards such as extended validation certificates. In 2005, Mozilla agreed to allow Microsoft to use its Web feed logo in the interest of common graphical representation of the Web feeds feature.

In August 2006, Microsoft offered to help Mozilla integrate Firefox with the then-forthcoming Windows Vista, an offer Mozilla accepted.

In October 2006, as congratulations for a successful ship of Firefox 2, the Internet Explorer 7 development team sent a cake to Mozilla. As a nod to the browser wars, some jokingly suggested that Mozilla send a cake back along with the recipe, in reference to the open-source software movement. The IE development team sent another cake on June 17, 2008, upon the successful release of Firefox 3, again on March 22, 2011, for Firefox 4, and yet again for the Firefox 5 release.

In November 2007, Jeff Jones (a "security strategy director" in Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group) criticized Firefox, claiming that Internet Explorer experienced fewer vulnerabilities and fewer higher severity vulnerabilities than Firefox in typical enterprise scenarios. Mozilla developer Mike Shaver discounted the study, citing Microsoft's bundling of security fixes and the study's focus on fixes, rather than vulnerabilities, as crucial flaws.

In February 2009, Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for version 3.5 of the .NET Framework. This update also installed Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant add-on (enabling ClickOnce support). The update received media attention after users discovered that the add-on could not be uninstalled through the add-ons interface. Several hours after the website Annoyances.org posted an article regarding this update, Microsoft employee Brad Abrams posted in his blog Microsoft's explanation for why the add-on was installed, and also included detailed instructions on how to remove it. However, the only way to get rid of this extension was to modify manually the Windows Registry, which could cause Windows systems to fail to boot up if not done correctly.

On October 16, 2009, Mozilla blocked all versions of Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant from being used with Firefox and from the Mozilla Add-ons service. Two days later, the add-on was removed from the blocklist after confirmation from Microsoft that it is not a vector for vulnerabilities. Version 1.1 (released on June 10, 2009, to the Mozilla Add-ons service) and later of the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant allows the user to disable and uninstall in the normal fashion.

Firefox was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows from 2010 – see BrowserChoice.eu.

IRS audit

The Internal Revenue Service opened an audit of the Mozilla Foundation's 2004-5 revenues in 2008, due to its search royalties, and in 2009, the investigation was expanded to the 2006 and 2007 tax years, though that part of the audit was closed. As Mozilla does not derive at least a third of its revenue from public donations, it does not automatically qualify as a public charity.

In November 2012, the audit was closed after finding that the Mozilla Foundation owed a settlement of $1.5 million to the IRS.

People

Most Mozilla Foundation employees transferred to the new organization at Mozilla Corporation's founding.

Board of directors

The board of directors is appointed by and responsible to Mozilla Foundation's board. In March 2014, half the board members resigned. The remaining board members are:

Management team

The senior management team includes:

  • Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman & CEO
  • Lindsey Shepard, CMO
  • Steve Teixeira, Chief Product Officer
  • Eric Muhlheim, CFO
  • Carlos Torres, Chief Legal Officer

Notable current employees

Notable past employees


This page was last updated at 2023-11-09 22:54 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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