All companies, no matter the size, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, smaller companies and organizations have had a more difficult time adjusting and coping compared to those with more resources to spare. Although not exactly tiny, the makers of the popular Firefox web browser is dwarfed by the giant that is Google and was already struggling to find stable revenue streams even before the coronavirus hit the world. Now Mozilla Corporation, the for-profit subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, is announcing a “significant restructuring”, including letting go of 250 people.
Like many companies, Mozilla had big plans for 2020 before COVID-19 was a thing. It was already in the process of finding new sources of income to fund the development of Firefox as well as its other projects and products. It recently launched its own VPN service at $4.99 a month as a part of getting money without resorting to advertising that the open source community largely frowns upon.
Unfortunately, the Foundation and the Corporation have now hit even harder times due to the pandemic and are forced to quickly rethink its strategy and restructure. Like with any restructuring, that involves reducing their workforce which will amount to 250 people. These will reportedly receive a severance amounting to their full salary to the end of 2020, with some even receiving bonuses based on their past performance.
Those aren’t the only changes, of course. Almost with a sense of foreboding, the company is announcing shifts in focus and mindsets, focusing on products and even making new products. At the same time, it is also shifting away from internal tools and platforms that may not be contributing to finding new revenue streams or are even costing it more than necessary.
How this will affect Firefox development is still unclear but it is might unsettle users who have already been worrying about the browser’s rather slow development. It might also cause concerns about Mozilla’s seeming desperation to find sources of revenue that may eventually force it to concede to an advertisement-driven business model. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for one of Chrome’s biggest rivals that already has but a fraction of the browser market at this point.