The last few months of Mozilla news hasn’t all been exactly positive. The once beloved company is fighting to keep its head above water as well as retain its open and anti-corporate identity.
You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain
Just over a month ago, Mozilla laid off 250 employees. Understandably, 2020 has been a challenging time for many companies. However, the layoffs were not due to the pandemic or any other reason, the poor executive leadership at Mozilla is to blame.
The CEO of Mozilla Corporation Mitchell Baker continues to be compensated quite substantially, despite market share and dominance dropping. Over the last 10 or so years, Mozilla has been a mishandled and misguided mess (remember FirefoxOS).
Now, Mozilla has announced Firefox Send and Firefox Notes are being binned. Look, I get they are trying to diversify and move away from their reliance on Google search agreement money (which constitutes a large majority of Mozilla’s funding), but it looks like Mozilla is becoming a VPN company and less about being a browser and resource for the development community.
One thing we do have to acknowledge is Mozilla is held to quite a high, some would say, impossible standard from the community. Mozilla champions itself as the open-source warrior for privacy and safety, against advertisements and trackers. So, when the topic of Mozilla wanting to make money pops up, the community gets a little cagey (especially the Hacker News crowd).
People seem to forget that Mozilla is very reliant on Google, a company that goes against a majority of things that Mozilla stands for. But, there is no alternative. It is an interesting situation, given another not-for profit WikiMedia which runs the Wikipedia site, seems to always manage to cover its costs (admittedly, a lot less overheads). Why are people more willing to support Wikipedia than Mozilla?
Many agree that Mozilla is important and that it needs to survive. However, you’re probably reading this on Google Chrome (hey, it’s okay, I am using Chrome too) and you’ve probably never donated to Mozilla.
Now, the inexcusably high salary of Mozilla Corp Mitchell Baker is worth reiterating. For a company trying to find new revenue streams and survive in the face of Chrome’s dominance, $2.5 million US dollars is way too high. I think a good CEO is worth being compensated and Baker is arguably earning above her value.
Mozilla is a company worth saving, but first it has to save itself.