This is true, and indeed very strange. I use FF on mobile and it works perfectly. So Mozilla's problems aren't only technical, there's also a question of market awareness.
That said, there are also technical problems. Some bugs on the desktop linger on for years and are never fixed.
As described in the article, Mozilla spent a lot of energy into side projects that never went anywhere and were only loosely related to the browser.
This is all, obviously, a management problem.
To be consistent with their business screw ups, they addressed this with the latest updates. Now the mobile app a mess like the rest of Mozilla.
I want to use Firefox (or any decent browser not based on chrome), for several reasons, but this way it gets harder and harder to justify to myself.
What alternatives do we have for non-chromium browsers that have a healthy plugin ecosystem?
The obvious answer is: none. It always was Chrome or Firefox, everything else was so niche that 'healthy plugin ecosystem' is out of reach. And this very likely won't change for the better, pretty much everyone I know ditched Firefox in favor of chrome by now. We all want to love firefox, but at this point, staying invested seems like a waste of energy.
A long time ago firefox(program) started asking for donations. I've donated 5$(I was a poor student in Poland). After the donation, I found out that money will not be used for FF development (why firefox page did not mention that?). Long story short it was my last donation to them.
 Now I'm not a student ;)
I know it's probably not practical to monetize an open source programming language, and they don't centrally manage it, but that seems to be their big differentiator and contribution to the software world as of 2020, as far as I can tell. They were pioneering back when they were driving a lot of the evolution of browsers and web APIs, and providing a way less awful alternative to IE, but by 2020 Google's basically upstaged them in all those areas, and I don't see that trend ever reversing at this point. But Rust might live on in a big or huge way, possibly even long past their solvency as an organization.
So I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say with this post, and I don't know how it could help them financially, but maybe leaning into Rust or other similar very ambitious attempts at fundamentally shifting the software ecosystem could let them remain if not successful, at least relevant and acclaimed. Maybe Servo could've been one of those, but it seems like vaporware at this point (besides the parts Firefox cannibalized, like Stylo).
"Nobody pays for a browser", they say. Well, they might pay to see some features in!
Even Edge is now chromium based, I think it's a lost battle.
Note also that many of the redesigned plugins will be slower than their older, mature counterparts. Give the plugin authors some time to optimize their plugins, and try to cull the amount of plugins you currently use. I've using only Adblock Plus, Tree Style Tab, and Tridactyl.
It's a Nokia 6.1. I've got a lot of apps running, so my guess is that memory exhaustion is causing the app to completely close when switching away. The whole app and previous page then needs to be reloaded when I reopen the app. I think it's the previous page reloading is causing the biggest part of the delay.
What's annoying is that even if I try to switch to another site, it still waits for the previous page to load. I'd like to easily cancel the reload so that I can go to a separate page quickly.
I also really like the new swipe-url-to-switch-tabs feature =D
It used to be "click on the url bar -> click big site preview", now it's "click on the tab counter -> click the plus icon -> click to dismiss some overlay -> click small site icon".
Thanks Mozilla, I hate it.
Oh wait, no, just NoScript, because about:config doesn't work in Firefox for Android anymore.
about:config prefs are not "broken," but many of them work much differently in GeckoView than they work in desktop.
Setting some prefs to the wrong value could completely disconnect Gecko from the embedding app.
Of course regular people don't know this and will probably never care. But it's the reason Firefox probably won't die. Because the people who know tech know its strength and will want to use it.
It's shameful for a CEO to get a 400% pay increase, regardless of any other circumstances. But it matters less to me because I'm sure Firefox will always attract enthusiasts who care about their online security.
except if firefox wills it, they could have an advertising campaign to show regular people that firefox can block ads (the irony!), and is a much better browser experience when paired with all the plugins!
But of course, this threatens the tenuous relationship with google, their major source of revenue. Google keeps firefox alive on a shoestring budget to stop the anti-trust happenings that microsoft went through with Internet Explorer.
So the status quo fits just fine for these parties, and the web browser competition gets worse over time.
* Firefox Browser
* Firefox Focus
* Firefox for Android Beta
* Firefox Nightly
Can anybody tell me what I'm supposed to install?
Second is Firefox where all the privacy settings are on and the browser keeps no history.
Other two are for people looking to test new features.
Literally the only reason I use Chrome instead is because of the flow ui tab switching. I just can't stand the Firefox mobile UI for tab switching. I with there was an extension or something to change it. It's a huge shame.
I have been dying to switch but tab management and switching is so jarring in FF vs Chrome (on Android).
Not only that, but scrolling is also buggy because it keeps accelerating. Insufferable while online shopping, because I like to scroll-stop-scroll-stop-scroll and FF just speeds up the scrolling if the stops are too short.
To expand on the quality point: I used Firefox a long time past most of my laymen friends had switched to Chrome, despite it being painfully slower, and I spent years giving it trial periods on a regular basis. But the quality gap was just too reliable and persistent, with it always being slower, jankier, and less featureful (from a product perspective, I still can't believe how many years it took for them to get per-tab processes). When I've tried it recently on mobile, it's seemed quite a bit slower, and
Combined with a decline in confidence in their ability to be an effective organization that started with Eich's ouster and has only gotten worse over time, it's difficult for me to see why most users would choose mobile FF over Brave. The only advantage i can see is extensions, but it's my impression that most users don't much care to use them.
Even Firefox Focus' content blocker works on Safari and not the main Firefox app
My typical workflow is: (1) search for something in FFF, (2) if it's something I want to stay alive so I can read later, I share it to FF, (3) if it's something that I need to be logged in for, I share it to Safari, where I'm logged into various sites.
It is annoying that I have to manually open FFF each time, instead of being able to use Siri to trigger a search or the systemwide search. Hopefully both of these search options will use my default browser in iOS 14.
Adblock with safari on iOS works great
I don't know what it is for sure but seems like its malice. No one knows what deals they are making with the devil under table.
"Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's top executive, was paid $2.4m in 2018, [..]. Payments to Baker have more than doubled in the last five years."
and this at the same time:
"Mozilla recently announced that they would be dismissing 250 people."
It's shameful. Specially for a "non profit".
The point is not so much that the CEO's pay directly matches the salaries of the sacked employees, more that the CEO is clearly focused on their personal goals, rather than the organisational goals.
CEO's who reduce their salary in order to keep more staff on in lean times are servants of their organisation. CEO's who sack staff to save money so they can increase their own salary see the organisation as their servant.
It's not a crime to be greedy, but being greedy is a clear signal of your values and goals.
A business that is set up as a "non-profit" means that it can't pay dividends. If the business earns one million dollars, I can't profit from it. This does not mean there aren't people in the organization with salaries. Sometimes big salaries.
You can have a "for-profit" company owned by a "non-profit" one. The dividends paid by the "for-profit" go to the "non-profit" but those can only be reinvested. In a way, yes, "non-profitness" is inherited.
I guess that the "for-profit" organization provides legal benefits. If one of your child companies goes bankrupt, it shouldn't affect the other ones nor the parent company. I have a few more guesses but I am not confident enough to write about them, especially when I am not from the US.
A for-profit entity owning/operating a non-profit entity would be more difficult to justify without calling on other goals.
So many non-profits split out the profit-making activities into a separate (for-profit) company so that they can keep non-profit financial streams separate from the for-profit ones.
Non-profit just means that the company cannot make / pay out profit. It can still pay its employees a lot of money. It can still own for-profit corporate entities, take their profit, and spend it on other (non-money-making) causes.
The fact that one of the subsidiaries is structured as a for-profit is a red herring. Just a legal structure. The whole organisation is non-profit.
Mozilla Foundation has a staff of 80 and "manages" about 1000 volunteers. It's unclear how much donations it gets as they published a consolidated report that includes the corporation. I expect that very little.
Mozilla Corporation has a staff of 750 and $400M revenue (I expect most from the Google search deal).
Mozilla CEO's salary isn't even that big, in the large scheme of things.
I agree, though, that non-profit shouldn't automatically be conflated with beneficial or working for the common good, as is common.
To me there seems there is something fundamentally wrong with the way Mozilla is set up.
To me, it seems like Mozilla Corporation should not have existed, and everything should have been part of the non-profit foundation.
Our entire system has been setup like this for decades. 99% of earnings have been going to the top 1% for decades now.
I understand people who don't want to get behind BLM - I might not agree with them, but I "get" them.
But the fact that the country looked at Occupy Wallstreet and collectively shrugged its shoulders and said "I don't see a problem here" - well, here we are - slowly building back a feudal society while blaming the poorest amongst us for our troubles.
We have an organization where, at the same time they don't have revenue enough for keeping its workers, the decision makers increase their salary. Never mind the legal structure of the organization, that doesn't look to me very ethical.
At the same time, non-profits are suppose to have the mission of improving the world. I understand that the janitor doesn't care about the mission and just want to be payed, but the management should care, at least, about the optics. I, for sure, would not donate (1) to a non-profit if I think that my money is going to be used for buying Ferrari or houses in the Hamptons.
(1) - https://donate.mozilla.org/en-US/
And they can't reduce their salary now because it'd be unfair on their families.
Firefox has a problem. It gets most of its revenue from Google.
They need a different revenue stream but their ideas haven't worked.
Their executives are clearly failures.
But with such high pay, they're cashing out. Buying themselves mansions etc.
Isn't that pretty much admitting that they're on a sinking ship?
The quote is not really crazy:
"Executive compensation is a general topic -- are execs, esp CEOs paid too much? I'm of the camp that thinks the different between exec comp and other comp is high. So then i think, OK what should mozilla do about it? My answer is that we try to mitigate this, but we won't solve this general social problem on our own.
Here's what I mean by mitigate: we ask our executives to accept a discount from the market-based pay they could get elsewhere. But we don't ask for an 75-80% discount. I use that number because a few years ago when the then-ceo had our compensation structure examined, I learned that my pay was about an 80% discount to market. Meaning that competitive roles elsewhere were paying about 5 times as much. That's too big a discount to ask people and their families to commit to."
Baker has clearly not been worth her increased salary; I don't even think she's worth the original 20%-of-market salary, given how Firefox's market share has dropped precipitously, and Mozilla has been forced to lay off staff.
Sure, you're probably not going to get a 100%-of-market-rate CEO for a 20%-of-market-rate salary, for CEOs who only care about compensation. But I think that's ok, especially given that some CEOs aren't even worth 20%. And you're much more likely to get someone who actually cares about the mission.
And then to wipe out a massive portion of your employee base? I find it abhorrent, personally.
This would be impossible for Mozilla's structure
First, an 80% discount would still leave the CEO on a very comfortable salary. They're not going to have to dumpster-dive for dinner.
Second, what about doing the job on principle? Plenty of people volunteer their time to good causes for no money whatsoever.
Couldn't she just have gone and become CEO at a different company if she wanted to make more, like the rest of us do?
This kind of bullshit infuriates me to no end.
I believe they should justify the value they create in this high paid positions compared to all other people making and disseminating the product. There is no justification for this level.
There are lots and lots of families there living on a less fair level of salary but produce much more value (and no damages).
I don't get it.
Then, you have trust funds for your children so that none of them ever have to work. And when you die, your children will inherit the fortune, so they can do the same for their children, ad infinitum. And if they want a "job" you can start a nonprofit that they can run, so they can be known as successful administrators while you are recognized as a selfless philanthropist who gave away so much money.
I guess it would be hard on their families because they would move off the fast track of multi-generational absolute financial security.
You go from a $1 million dollar home, to a $10 million dollar home.
Instead of one $50k car, you now own 2-3 $150k cars.
Tens of thousands of dollars will go towards your kids education, every single year.
You hire people to do work for you (tutors, nannies, maids, whatever), these cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Maybe you buy some vacation property - that's more money to spend.
And, in the end, you're not some kind of high-rolling baller that jet sets around the world in a private jet or yacht, spending fortunes on vanity.
You're really "just" living the very upper-middle class life.
(I don't even make that much in a month (after taxes)).
That excludes purely burning cash ie on drugs/alcohol, hookers or living in super-high rental place.
If you make that much money, you're not paying more than 25% taxes. Or you are not using the right lawyers.
I don't think this is controversial.
Warren Buffett talked about how he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
There is also the famous curve of tax vs income group:
I also think I still have some legal headroom for optimizing my tax return forms. Maybe I'll have to try an accountant next year.
Most countries also seem to have savings plans where you put money away until retirement and pay taxes only when you're allowed to take it out, after retirement age (after retirement, you have a lower income, so pay a lower tax rate). Of course, you still pay those taxes (wouldn't be a certainty of life, now, would it?), but they're lower.
A clear problem, should address it, but probably won't. And will make up some phoney reason to justify it.
Doesn’t seem to be much of a misquote. Poor Mitchell Baker. She’ll just have to suffer with her non-discounted salary.
Again, I don't agree with that since clearly the higher salaries are not attracting any talented executives either.
I would much rather a lower-salary, less-experienced CEO who actually cares about the mission enough to accept that salary, than someone who has presided over an erosion of Firefox's market share and significant layoffs, while still increasing her own salary. Clearly the system is not working by paying their CEO a market rate.
Yes I read that too, I couldn't believe it.
She can decide to work for a non-profit, work for the good of the Internet and its users. Accept to earn 500k, which put her well in the top 5% earners and let her and her family live a comfortable life even in Silicon Valley.
Or she can go work as an exec for Google/Apple/Facebook, accept that she's just working for a group of people against others, and be aware she'll be actively doing harm to people's privacy and freedom, but rake in a multi-million dollar salary every year.
I'm sure there are plenty of skilled and talented people who would be happy to work as an exec for Mozilla for the meager salary of 500k.
The same is true for most of the engineers at Mozilla. They could go to FAANGs and increase their compensation quite a bit.
So while I agree that the leadership has been bad, executive pay was not the problem. Executive decision-making was the problem. Hiring leaders who could make better decisions certainly won't be any cheaper.
Its an open source project people believe in. Reduce the pay and you are probably actually more likely to cut out the worst execs and focus only on smart people who want to contribute.
Yes, indeed a good CEO has offers from elsewhere. But...why isn't the business and governance open-sourced like the codebase?
Now, is every well paid CEO a truly good leader? No. But I’d argue it’s a lot more difficult to assess a good leader than a good developer. There’s a lot more people management, marketing and other soft skills involved. Not to mention the time scales for success are much larger.
At a decent-sized org it is nearly impossible to measure an individual developer's impact with any granularity.
I think this should also illustrate that evaluating a leader and evaluating a developer are two entirely different things that can't be directly compared anyway.
But over what timescale? For startups especially it is not easy to evaluate a job that involves long term planning in the short term.
Eventually you get CEOs making statements that amount to 'I deliver 10x or 20x more value to this company than you, all my CEO peers say so.'
I mean, really? After their record of poor performance at Mozilla?
> Hiring leaders who could make better decisions certainly won't be any cheaper.
It's been blindly obvious for years what they should do, but let's state it again: (1) Build up a fund instead of throwing away the money, so they can be financially independent. (2) Concentrate on the browser and users.
#2 is a matter of opinion in a couple ways. Work on the browser for the betterment of users has never stopped. Intent has always been there, but we can debate quality of plan and execution.
Worth mentioning is how hard it is to rate performance given lack of counterfactuals. Is there even any golden path of success in all of the solution space? All we know is that what was tried hasn't worked.
That's just baseless assumptions. And considering that this "saving" did not work out so far, it seems they are not even worth the money at all.
On another side, for the money of one of this managers, you could probably get a dozen or more semi-competent people who are more eager to make money and save the project.
If this counts as "saving Firefox" I'm not sure I want to know the alternative.
So let them.
> The same is true for most of the engineers at Mozilla. They could go to FAANGs and increase their compensation quite a bit.
To both your assertions, I highly doubt it. Maybe 1 or 2, but for the vast majority, no.
What % of engineers at Mozilla are in SV and other places where Mozilla competes with FAANG? I thought quite a lot of the employees were remote all over the world.
Just because someone opposes gay marriage for religious reasons doesn't make them a superhero or saint. Is Brave browser doing better than Firefox with his miraculous help?
Seems like the people angry about this political issue are one key factor in us heading towards an internet monoculture.
a) Eich publicly called out Mozilla's current CEO compensation. b) well the current CEO isn't doing that either.
> Just because someone opposes gay marriage for religious reasons doesn't make them a superhero or saint. Is Brave browser doing better than Firefox with his miraculous help?
Exactly, it had nothing to do with anything but people who wanted Eich's head. The same people that are now sinking Mozilla because they have no vision for the company, just virtue signalling.
Yes. The exec team and CEO.
They should be ousted.
"Unfair to their families"? What BS, what about the families of the laid-off?
'Failures' on the other hand - that is a loaded word. They are failures, they have failed at making Firefox popular. But what needed to happen to build an alternative world where they succeeded? The browsers that succeeded were Chrome and Safari - browsers sponsored by the owners of the two major platforms for accessing the internet, backed by billions of dollars of corporatyness.
What is Firefox meant to do? Charities aren't innovation engines. Back in the day when they were making progress on market share, the options were Firefox or IE6. The strategy of the Chrome web team is slightly different than the IE6 web team. I'm sour about Firefox wiping out their value proposition when they canned the good extensions - but that happened circa 2017 so it isn't the problem for adoption. They need something radical to be relevant and that isn't a fair ask of a nonprofit.
Maybe you just can't run a successful business in the browser space in 2020. It was already plenty difficult in the mid-90's, wasn't it?
But now they are a fringe browser, that already has problems keeping up with the developments on the web.
Note that for Google they are only a fig-leaf in their upcoming anti-trust case. Note that Google pulled a lot of underhanded tricks to get people to switch to Chrome and paying FF may have been just enough to keep Mozilla quiet about this. If it had been a for-profit situation and with a different source of revenues for Mozilla then there is a fair chance Mozilla would have made a case for anti-competitive behavior by Google.
So that money may have acted to Google's benefit in more than just one way.
The unique selling point of Firefox (and especially: mobile Firefox) was ability to heavily customize it and use third party extensions.
Those extensions were the ones bringing in the innovation -> most ideas came from third parties (on a side note: usually for free, since extensions are hard to monetize).
The system just worked and gave many popular extensions like Tab Mix Plus, Ad-Block, Noscript... through basic customization extensions like Classic Theme Restorer (have you ever setup new browser for a grandmother who does not need 50 options everywhere when you right click? can you even do this now in new Firefox? or the new extension model does not allow it) through countless small extensions that changed users' workflows how they wanted. This ecosystem is all gone.
Developers inside of Firefox completely ignored it - they killed the old extension system because they didn't like it, while they did not provide anything that is even 25% as good. I understand that creating a new, better system is hard, but that is their job and core product. Firefox could have been providing the framework on which extensions would sit.
Also, they earned 500 million dollars per year, for years; had over 1000 employees. They couldnt find people who could solve hard problems?
Or maybe it is a failure of project management: developers ignored hard problems, they preferred to work on new, shiny green-field projects. Those new toys are great: they boost the CV, allow to play with new technologies, often are left in half baked state so you dont care about bugs. They also have no users, so nobody will complain, basically no accountability for a project that is never finished and killed after 1-2 years.
We saw many of such side projects in Firefox - all shifting away resources from the core product that is neglected.
The big question is whether there’s a model for browser development which isn’t subsidized by huge companies which profit elsewhere. Short of government support (antitrust, direct funding, etc.) I’m not sure there is a viable path forward.
Let's assume good faith and that executive pay in general at Mozilla was not competitive.
That would be similar to a company noticing that it has been underpaying software engineers and then choosing to bump up compensation significantly.
A question that raises is: do executives (and software engineers?) bring the value that is associated with those pay grades, given that they seem increasingly detached from other roles?
I don't know - are many people here on HN familiar enough with executive-level strategy, connections and work practices to discuss whether that value is justified?
In honesty I believe that some executives are probably capable of using their personal networks to bring on-board significant expertise, industry influence, negotiating power and other talents (such as, frankly, the ability to dominate conversations and sway opinions, for better or worse - as long as it doesn't hurt the company) that are typically hard to quantify or certificate.
If the tech industry continues consolidating into a smaller number of more important companies then it seems understandable that those influence and network effects become more important in order to stay competitive.
I'm not sure if that's fair - those might not be the kind of skills that can necessarily be learned; I'd argue they're frequently side-effects of people's upbringing, social networks, and psychological profiles (including some dark/problematic personality types). But it explains the realpolitik of the situation without demonizing individual decision-makers for what may be rational choices in the environment.
The problem is that this is a very subjective claim. If you think of mozilla as belonging to the same category as tech giants or successful tech startups, and believe it needs to compete with them to attract talent then it's not unreasonable. If you think of firefox as a charity then it's completely insane.
Compensation for charity CEOs, even tech focussed ones (like the EFF, TOR, wikimedia, khan academy) are lower, usually much lower. A number of charities have managed to attract impressive CEOs despite not paying 'market' rates.
It's pure conjecture but I'd imagine that the compensation culture in this case started near the top of the company (given that it appears executive-centric) - perhaps based on conversations with potential hires, vendors, competitors, and so forth.
Given the nature of Firefox, I'd expect many of those third parties would have been anchored in the 'tech giant' world -- perhaps leading compensation policy astray.
That said: to me it comes off as a bit done deaf to raise salaries for top execs in a non profit while firing the people who does the work and also I cannot see how anything should be prioritized if the situation is critical except:
- the main revenue driver and simultaneously their biggest contribution to fulfilling their mission, Firefox.
- initiatives to add more reliable sources of income for the long run.
Deprioritizing Firefox seems crazy in such a situation.
(I know nothing about their actual plans but I could come up with is if they are cutting spending to save up money for an endowment fund, but I guess that is just wishful thinking.)
But for execs it's about their need.
Once again, it's down to rich vs poor. Rules for thee but not for me.
It's not just that they get most of their revenue from Google -- it's that they're getting most of their revenue from a company that also runs their biggest competitor and has every incentive to push their own product over someone else's.
Apple and Mozilla both have uncomfortable dependencies on Google nowadays, so I wonder if one of them (if not both) are looking to buy DuckDuckGo.
Find a CEO whose motivation is more "make the world a better place" than "make millions of dollars a year". $500k is a large enough salary to live well just about anywhere. After that it's just "victory points" in the game of careerism.
These theories are untested, except that we now know for certain that paying $2.5M doesn't guarantee that the CEO is any good.
I would bet you can hire an excellent, technically competent CEO for Mozilla for $250k a year.
But how long would they stay after other companies learn this new person is actually competent and start throwing money at them.
And Mozilla's poor track record suggests that if Mozilla insists on paying the same CEO salary, they might do well to find a different CEO to give it to.
I think the point is less that this CEO should take a pay cut — although she probably should — but more that the mediocrity + layoffs + exorbitant-CEO-salary situation here reeks of self-dealing.
It's bad for the organization, but the leadership doesn't really care about that.
The CEO's yacht won't pay itself.
But it’s moral to let people starve, die of preventable disease due to sitting on your ha day
Welcome to America’s emotional prison
Old people have convinced young people to pander to them until they’re the grave, they’re locking up the judiciary to force themselves on the future
And Americans sit here like coddled children
Isn’t that pretty much living in a sinking ship of a country?
No one here going to admit the top down political failures of the past aren’t able to handle modern reality?
There is no artificial shortage of code anymore. GitHub and GitLab are gutting that labor market. Who cares if they can’t make new code shapes? Business only cares that the machines keep sorting. Self aggrandizing nerds care about code shapes.
afair AMD CEO is paid 4x less than Mozilla CEO.
AMD's Lisa Su was the highest-paid CEO of a company in the S&P 500 last year. Su earned a total of $58.5 million in 2019 
Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's top executive, was paid $2.4m in 2018 
Su revived a company on the verge of bankruptcy. Since she was appointed CEO, AMD's stock has soared and they've made themselves a viable competitor against Intel. This has been a massive boon to the market.
It's worth noting that Su has a deep understanding of the underlying technology that the company works on (she's an electrical engineer), which was essential to her success at the company.
Su is an example of merit-based compensation. Baker is not.
So not 4x, but 2x based on base salary.
But if the company/organization is doing poorly, the CEO doesn't deserve the high pay. And having the pay reduced, or even not being paid at all for a time if it can help the company is one of the risks CEO should be able to take. It is not unfair for their families if they planned for it in advance instead of taking their high pay for granted. You can save a lot when you are being paid millions.
IMHO, 5% is actually fine. That's a robust user base of a few tens to hundreds of million users. Nothing to sneeze at and a good basis for long term existence of the project.
Where Mozilla went the wrong direction is with their commercial activities. Their core problem is that their product is a commodity. It's just not going to bring in a lot of revenue. Apple and Google use their respective browser as a control point for the app store and ads. It's an expense worth making because they both exploit the large number of users using their browsers via other channels. Most of what Google does is motivated by this. Likewise, Apple is selling hardware, apps, and subscriptions.
Mozilla does not have a similarly viable way of generating revenue from their user base. It's an OSS product that users install and use for free. Their core value is actually protecting users against that kind of thing which is a noble thing to do but not a business plan.
That's why Mozilla was initially styled as a foundation. The commercial branch came later and its the commercial branch that is failing; not the foundation. They have no money maker of note other than their search traffic deals. Everything else, including (I'll just call this right now), their recent VPN offering is never going to come close to bankrolling their operation. This follows a long line of failed investments in a mobile strategy that never panned out, various "experiments' that never got off the ground, misc services that they launched and that people promptly forgot about, etc. None of it engaged more than a fraction of their user base. None of it wowed anyone. None of it was more than a me too effort of replicating things that already existed and already were commodities. Mozilla as an investment vehicle for new products only loosely connected to Firefox has failed.
The way out is back to basics. Pull the plug on the Mozilla corporation as soon as convenient for investors and setup the foundation for success and untangle it from the VCs. It will need donations, the search engine revenue looks good as well and ought to be allocated 100% to keeping the browser going. There should be enough to keep an engineering team going. It doesn't need a marketing department, offices in London, Paris, San Francisco, Mountain View, etc. Hell, the rent for that alone could keep a development team going for a very long time. Much bigger things have been built with far less. That shit only ever made sense when Mozilla was styling itself as an incubation vehicle for turning VC money into products. Now that that has definitely failed, time to walk away from that.
And then there's the Rust part of the company. IMHO that's a valid asset where Mozilla has a lot of influence in a rapidly growing community. There's an opportunity there to grow some healthy business around that supporting the many companies looking to leverage that. So far, they run it like a charity. That's a mistake. Aside from Firefox, that's actually the single most valuable IP they ever created. And like Firefox, it lacks a plan for revenue. Rust almost happened by accident. But MS and Apple are now looking to use it and it seems people are doing Rust things in the Linux kernel as well.
This. So much this. Besides, if they moved their HQ outside the Valley, they could probably also hire new people for much less…
Even worse, the cheapest comparable alternatives are free. At least commodities can be sold at the market price if you can't differentiate yours enough.
My phone browser is like a snack, my desktop browser is what I care about.
I also suspect Firefox engineers are underpaid relative to Google SWEs working on Chrome.
In a commercial company, there would be activist investors pushing to cut manager's pay and change management. But I'm not familiar with this type of NGOs so well; who is supposed play the role of principal here? And are they not playing it properly?
FYI -- The foundation owns the IP, while the corporation manages software engineering and the Google search deal.
...I guess if you get your money from a disinterested Google rather than fundraising there really isn't anyone to push back against inefficiency/poor performance.
Really the board should have been pushing back/course correcting, but sadly even in private companies boards are usually weak af (simply doing the ceos bidding).
> And they can't reduce their salary now because it'd be unfair on their families.
To give context, Baker's annual salary is $2.5 million.
They are admitting they are solely reliant on Google's money. Given that Google Chrome is a direct competitor to Firefox and has gained more market share, Google can justify to either reduce spend or stop paying for being the default search engine in Firefox due to its shrinking market share and instead pay more for Apple Safari as the default in iOS, macOS, etc instead.
Mozilla and Firefox will be another geek's relic in this decade if it doesn't find another revenue source apart from relying on Google - A direct competitor in all areas.
When you see Mozilla as a Big Tech trust-fund baby struggling with cognitive dissonance, then their behavior makes sense.
"I learned that my pay was about an 80% discount to market. Meaning that competitive roles elsewhere were paying about 5 times as much. That's too big a discount to ask people and their families to commit to."
WTF of an excuse that is?!
One year ago: https://web.archive.org/web/20190923050403/https://www.mozil...
Two years ago: https://web.archive.org/web/20180923185143/https://www.mozil...
Specifically for criticism of the CEO, I wish people would keep in mind that Chris Beard was CEO from 2014 through 2019.
(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)
That's downright appalling.
Let's say I'm hired as a coach of a team that's second best in the world (Being the second used browser in the world is NOT a rough hand, other browsers are clawing for >1% for ever and are not coming close). I'm not saying it's easy at all but after 5 years I manage to do NOTHING to stop the bleeding, lose 250 highly skilled people and RAISE MY OWN SALARY 5x...
What ideas though?
Imagine saying, "well, I know he gunned 20 kids in a school down, but he had such a bad day, he's just couldn't take it." Sure it's probably true, but it's definitely not right.
That's fucking bullshit. They make millions.
HN crowd is a sucker when it comes to Mozilla. These bleeding hearts don’t bleed for furloughed and fired Mozilla drones. They only care about their political agenda not business or technological value.
BUT... key point here, I totally agree with them regarding their compensation.
Even non-profits have to be competitive.
Imagine it's YOU... everyone you know is making 350-400k at Google and you're stuck making 180 or whatever at FF. Would you stay?
And sure, say YOU would, what % of your colleagues do you think would stay?