Mozilla forms new for-profit Mozilla Corporation

Posted on Wednesday, August 03 2005 @ 23:02 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
The Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit public benefit software development organization, today announced it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary to be known as the Mozilla Corporation. The Mozilla Corporation is a taxable subsidiary that serves the non-profit, public benefit goals of its parent, the Mozilla Foundation, and the vast Mozilla community. It will continue to leverage resources from diverse sources to create and distribute great open and free-of-charge end-user products — such as the popular Mozilla Firefox Web browser and Mozilla Thunderbird email client — that promote choice and innovation on the Web.

The creation of the Mozilla Corporation reflects the continuing evolution and success of the Mozilla project. The Mozilla Foundation was launched two years ago in recognition of the importance of maintaining the vitality of the Mozilla project and its technology. Since then the Mozilla Foundation has seen unprecedented success, with its flagship product Mozilla Firefox approaching a 10 percent share of worldwide Internet usage and surpassing 75 million downloads. Mozilla Firefox has struck a chord with consumers worldwide, advancing their experience on the Web and reinforcing the importance of maintaining an open Internet.

"The formation of the Mozilla Corporation gives the Mozilla Foundation new capabilities for becoming even more successful in delivering innovative open source end-user products," said Mitchell Baker, president of Mozilla Corporation. "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."

The broad adoption of Mozilla Firefox has created significant economic value both in Firefox itself and in a commercial ecosystem that is developing around Firefox.

This economic value is an unintended but real by-product of the Mozilla project's overriding goal of providing a Web browser with enough marketshare to drive open standards on the Web. Carefully managed, this value — and the resulting ability to generate revenue — can be used to make the Mozilla project self-sustaining and help keep the Internet open and diverse.

"The Mozilla Foundation's spirit and philosophy will be very much alive in the new organizational model. We needed to find the right vehicle for advancing a sustainable worldwide effort to promote innovation and choice on the Internet, but with the same goals, values and collaborative dynamics that made the Mozilla Foundation a successful member of the open source software community," said Mitch Kapor, chairman of the board of the Mozilla Foundation.

The Mozilla Foundation remains the nucleus for the Mozilla project. It maintains the primary responsibility for managing the open source project, stewarding and distributing the source code, setting policies, and organizing the relationships between all participants in the project. As the Mozilla Foundation focuses on the project's governance, infrastructure and source code, the Mozilla Corporation will focus on developing and delivering end-user products, including marketing, sponsorships and a range of distribution-related activities. These activities are also expected to generate revenue, but the Mozilla Corporation only intends to pursue those that fit with the Mozilla project's focus on end-user experience and are consistent with the public benefit goals of the parent Mozilla Foundation.

The new corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary to ensure that the Mozilla Foundation's principles will be the guiding force behind the Mozilla Corporation. Many of the Mozilla Foundation employees who have been working on development and marketing will now become employees of Mozilla Corporation. Both organizations will focus on developing and guiding the extensive community of participants which defines the Mozilla project and products.

The operations of the Mozilla project remain unchanged. Participants in the Mozilla project — both individual volunteers and commercial entities contributing the work product of their employees — will not experience any difference in the way the Mozilla code is developed, verified and incorporated into releases. The development methodology for Mozilla products, which is the result of many years of experience, did not change with the creation of the Mozilla Foundation two years ago, and will not change with the creation of the Mozilla Corporation.

Mozilla Foundation's Board of Directors will now include Mitch Kapor, Brian Behlendorf, Mitchell Baker, Brendan Eich, and Joichi Ito; Chris Blizzard of Red Hat leaves the Foundation Board to join the board of Mozilla Corporation. The Mozilla Corporation's Board of Directors will also include Blizzard, Baker and Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn.

Frank Hecker, a long-time Mozilla participant with a focus on project organization and policy, will join the Mozilla Foundation as its director of policy, as Mitchell Baker becomes the president of Mozilla Corporation. Brendan Eich, a co-founder and long-time technical leader of the Mozilla project, will become the chief technical officer of the Mozilla Corporation. The Mozilla Foundation has solicited the advice of a broad advisory committee to help shape the tenets and relationship of the two entities.

"The Mozilla Foundation continues in its role as the vital center of the Mozilla project, working on behalf of all participants and constituents in the Mozilla community to ensure it remains a successful and vibrant open source project," said Frank Hecker, director of Policy for the Foundation. "With the establishment of the Mozilla Corporation, the Foundation is well-positioned to build on and extend the past successes of the Mozilla project."

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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