Mozilla creates money-making subsidiary

The Mozilla Foundation has created a commercial subsidiary to handle the money it makes.

The Mozilla Foundation, which distributes the open source Firefox Web browser, has created a corporate subsidiary to support its money-making activities and help widen the use of its products, it announced on Wednesday.

While the goals of the subsidiary, called Mozilla, include generating revenue and profit, its primary interest is not in making money, the group said. Instead, its main objective is to sustain the development of Firefox and other products, and help the foundation promote its goal of driving open standards on the Web, it said.

"The Mozilla Corporation is not a typical commercial entity. Rather, it is dedicated to the public benefit goal at the heart of the Mozilla project, which is to keep the Internet open and available to everyone," Mitchell Baker, a former Netscape attorney who becomes president of Mozilla Corp., said in a statement.

Mozilla products such as Firefox and its Thunderbird e-mail client will remain free and open source, the group said.

The Mozilla Foundation was formed about two years ago, primarily through US$2 million in funding from the former America Online. Its Firefox browser has garnered close to 10 percent of the browser market, according to analyst estimates, presenting a challenge to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer software. Firefox has been dowloaded more than 75 million times, according to the Foundation.

The wide adoption has created "unintended but real" economic value from Firefox, the group said. Firefox generates most of its money through a tool that lets users search the Web with various search engines, and also search for products at Amazon and eBay. Firefox takes a small share of revenue through contracts with those partners.

The corporation was created because, as a tax-paying entity, it is easier for it to manage such business contracts, said Tristan Nitot, a spokesman for Mozilla in Europe who served on an advisory committee for the reorganization. "This is not a drastic change," he said. "It makes more sense to have a commercial entity doing this rather than a public foundation."

The corporation does not plan to do an initial public offering and its only shareholder will be Mozilla Foundation, Nitot said.

"It's not the case that someone is taking Firefox and making a lot of money," he said. "The revenue we have made is almost accidental, it was not initially expected but it happened, so we needed to evolve the legal structure and fiscal structure to reflect this."

The Mozilla Foundation will remain "the nucleus" of the organization, responsible for overseeing projects, distributing source code and managing relationships between contributors. The corporation will focus on marketing, sponsorships and "a range of distribution-related activities."

Most of the 40 or so people who worked for the Mozilla Foundation will become employees at the corporation; the foundation will be left with just three staff. The volunteers and commercial groups that contribute to the project will not see any change in the way Mozilla code is developed, according to the group.

The past experience at Netscape of some Mozilla Foundation members may have played a role in the reorganization.

"Most of us were with Netscape before. We have seen it desperate and ready to sell anything to make money," Nitot said. "We didn't want to go through that at Mozilla."

Still, the group was not in any immediate danger of running out of funding, he said.

The corporation will be based in Mountain View, California, where the foundation is today.

There are no plans to introduce any new, paid services to make additional money for Mozilla, Nitot said.

Mozilla Foundation's board will now include Baker, Mitch Kapor, Brian Behlendorf, Brendan Eich, and Joichi Ito. Red Hat's Chris Blizzard is leaving the Foundation board to join the board of Mozilla. The corporation's board will also include Blizzard, Baker and Reid Hoffman, chief executive officer of LinkedIn.

Frank Hecker will take over from Baker as director of policy for the Foundation. Eich, a co-founder and long-time technical leader of the Mozilla project, becomes chief technical officer of the corporation.

More information is at http://www.mozilla.org/reorganization/

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?