The Mozilla Corporation (abbreviated MoCo) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of Internet-related applications such as the Firefox and SeaMonkey web browsers and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client 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 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.
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. 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 dollars 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."
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 will now run through 2011." The deal was extended again another 3 years, until November 2014. In this latest deal Mozilla will get another $900 million ($300 million annually) from Google, nearly 3 times the previous amount.
In August 2006, Microsoft posted a letter on Mozilla newsgroups and offered to open up a new open-source facility at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., to Mozilla software engineers. Mozilla responded by accepting the offer.
|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (April 2012)|
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 search deal with Google expired in 2011, but a new deal was struck, where Google agreed to pay Mozilla just under a billion dollars over three years in exchange for the browser to leave Google as its default search engine. The price was driven up due to aggressive bidding from Microsoft's Bing search engine, and Yahoo!'s presence in the auction as well. Despite the deal, Mozilla Firefox maintains relationships with Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, Amazon.com and eBay.
In 2005, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$52.9 million, with approximately 95% derived from search engine royalties. In 2006, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$66.9 million, with approximately 90% derived from search engine royalties. In 2007, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$81 million, with 88% of this sum (US$66 million) from Google. In 2008, both Mozilla organizations had a combined revenue of US$78.6 million, with 91% coming from Google. In 2009, Google accounted for 86% of Mozilla's revenue, and in 2010, Google was responsible for 84% of Mozilla's $123 million in revenue that year. In 2011 Mozilla had a revenue of US$163.5 million, with 85% of this sum from Google.
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. In August 2009, Mozilla Security assisted Google by pointing out a security flaw in Google's Chrome browser.
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 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.
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.
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 Corporation's board.
- Mitchell Baker, Chairperson
- Reid Hoffman, former CEO of LinkedIn
- John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla Corporation
- Ellen Siminoff, President and CEO of Shmoop University and Chairman of Efficient Frontier
The senior management team includes:
- Brendan Eich, CTO
- Jim Cook, CFO
- Jay Sullivan, COO
- Harvey Anderson, Senior VP of Business and Legal Affairs
- Debbie Cohen, Chief of People
- Li Gong, Senior VP of Mobile Devices
Notable current employees
- Sheeri Cabral, MySQL DBA
- Asa Dotzler, Director of Firefox Desktop
- Dave Miller, lead developer of Bugzilla
- Johnny Stenbäck
- Andreas Gal
- John Hammink
Notable past employees
- Chris Beard, former CMO (now EIR at Greylock Partners)
- Christopher Blizzard, former Open Source Evangelist (now at Facebook)
- John Resig, former Technical Evangelist (now at Khan Academy)
- Mike Schroepfer, former VP of Engineering (now at Facebook)
- Mike Shaver, former VP of Technical Strategy (now at Facebook)
- Window Snyder, former Chief Security Officer (now at Apple Inc.)
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