Mozilla lays off 70 employees to prepare for tough years ahead - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla lays off 70 employees to prepare for tough years ahead

A Techcrunch report suggests that Mozilla laid off at least 70 employees to better prepare for the challenges that it is facing in the coming years.

Mozilla, which is bests known for its Firefox web browser, depends to a very large degree on a deal with Google. Google pays Mozilla more than 90% of its revenue for being the default search engine in the Firefox web browser in most regions.

The deal is problematic for a number of reasons: first, because Google operates Chrome, the main contender in the browser market and dominating force at the time of writing, and second, because Google's business model, advertising, clashes with Mozilla's mission to strengthen privacy on the Internet.

Mozilla started to implement Tracking functionality in Firefox but the efforts don't go far enough for many users; probably the main factor that is preventing Mozilla from implementing better controls in Firefox is the organization's reliance on Google.

mozilla and firefox

The overall number of employees that have been laid off may even be higher as Mozilla has yet to decide how employees from France and the UK are affected by the decision.

The organization has about 1000 employees worldwide. Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker cites the slower than expected rollout of revenue generating products as the main reason for the decision. Mozilla revealed plans to diversify the organization's income through other products to reduce the dependency on Google.

A strong focus is on subscription-based products. Mozilla revealed Firefox Premium, an Enterprise-exclusive service that provides better support to subscribers, and a new VPN/browser-proxy service that is currently undergoing beta testing.

The organization wants to "to take a more conservative approach" to projecting revenue and avoid spending more than it earns in the "foreseeable future".

You may recall that we expected to be earning revenue in 2019 and 2020 from new subscription products as well as higher revenue from sources outside of search. This did not happen. Our 2019 plan underestimated how long it would take to build and ship new, revenue-generating products. Given that, and all we learned in 2019 about the pace of innovation, we decided to take a more conservative approach to projecting our revenue for 2020. We also agreed to a principle of living within our means, of not spending more than we earn for the foreseeable future.

Laid-off employees will receive "generous exit packages" and support according to the internal memo that Techcrunch has access to.

Mozilla's revenue dropped in 2018 significantly and resulted in revenue being lower than the expenses in that year.

Closing Words

Mozilla hopes to diversify its revenue sources with new subscription-based products. It is certainly possible that the built-in Firefox VPN could push revenue significantly as it can be advertised directly to users of the web browser as a means to strengthen privacy while on the Internet.

On a personal note; I think that Firefox development will be held back as long as Mozilla makes deals with advertising companies. The problem is that privacy focused search engines like DuckDuckGo are too small to replace Google even if it would mean that their revenue is boosted significantly if Mozilla would make them the default search engine in Firefox.

A different kind of deal, e.g. a revenue share agreement, could work though but it would put a lot on the line.

Mozilla needs to deal with the dominance of Chromium as well. With Microsoft now using Chromium as well, the first stable version of Microsoft Edge that is based on Chromium launched yesterday, it is facing overwhelming odds when it comes to development.

Now You: Where do you see Mozilla in five years?

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Mozilla lays off 70 employees to prepare for tough years ahead
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Mozilla lays off 70 employees to prepare for tough years ahead
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A Techcrunch report suggests that Mozilla laid off at least 70 employees to better prepare for the challenges that it is facing in the coming years.
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Comments

  1. Lindsay said on January 16, 2020 at 8:12 am
    Reply

    “The organization has about 1000 employees worldwide.”

    !!!

    What do they all DO?!

    1. Yuliya said on January 16, 2020 at 10:25 am
      Reply

      Not developing a web browser, that’s for sure. On the other hand, you do need lots of workforce to curate telemetry data.

    2. Anonymous said on January 16, 2020 at 11:57 am
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      they’re all busy dilating

    3. Samanto Hermes said on January 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm
      Reply

      PR? Politicking? Who knows…

    4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2020 at 5:13 pm
      Reply

      they do diversity

    5. michael said on January 16, 2020 at 5:29 pm
      Reply

      I heard people at mozilla work in small teams which aren’t reporting much to anyone outside the team.

      So what happens ist that the team members conspire to do just as much work as necessary, which in this case may not be a lot.

    6. Sarah McMahan said on January 18, 2020 at 8:39 pm
      Reply

      Is this the reason we’ve lost our themes?

  2. Allwynd said on January 16, 2020 at 8:23 am
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    I genuinely wish Mozilla has a nice and swift trip going to Hell.

    They had the best browser and destroyed it themselves. I used to love Firefox.

    Now they deserve to disappear completely. They aren’t even contributing to the internet at this point, all they ever do is pat themselves on the back and talking nonsense about privacy and tracking.

    1. arthur c. clarke said on January 19, 2020 at 9:19 am
      Reply

      What an icon of morality and virtue you are!

      You literally just wished 930 more people to be jobless and a privacy respecting browser to cease existing.

      You must be fun at parties.

  3. ShintoPlasm said on January 16, 2020 at 8:31 am
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    I think that, at the very least, Firefox should aim to replace the Google deal with a Microsoft deal. I know it’s like jumping from the frying pan into the oven, but at least it could mean the loosening of Mozilla’s bonds with Google. Microsoft would probably love to have a userbase boost, in addition to raising two fingers up to its big competitor.

    1. Helen said on January 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm
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      I’m not sure how replacing one horrible company for another really helps anything.

      Also remember that at the end of the day it was up to them who they jumped in to bed with and they don’t really care who a long as they had $. Until fairly recently it was Yahoo, no better. I’m pretty sure that Bing offered them a deal but Google offered more. As was said at the time that shows what sort of company they’ve turned in to, not the mozilla of old

      1. Travis said on January 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm
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        If Mozilla cant replicate all those companies’ web services, then it should at least contribute to strengthening competition, not endlessly rant about Microsoft and Apple being meanies when it’s actually contributing to the total domination of the biggest cookie monster that has been abusing Firefox and Mozilla themselves. Stockholm syndrome?

        At least MS and Apple are now agressively going all in on the privacy train, and not ready to compromise before balance is restored.
        Mozilla needs to at least keep up and start cutting dependency on services easy to replace ditch google’s safebrowsing list, replace it with microsoft’s smartscreen.

      2. ShintoPlasm said on January 17, 2020 at 9:12 am
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        @Travis: thanks, that’s pretty much what I meant. It’s a matter of going with the lesser of several evils, and at this point in time Microsoft is more privacy-friendly than Google – simply because its revenue model is mostly based on corporate income.

      3. yolorag said on January 17, 2020 at 2:23 am
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        It was the deal of century.
        Yahoo paid but Mozilla randomly dropped it. Kappa

    2. Chris said on January 16, 2020 at 9:26 pm
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      There is no future without mozembed

  4. michael said on January 16, 2020 at 8:34 am
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    wow, this looks like a desperate move.

    2 years ago I was interacting with mozilla employees on Hackernews, suggesting that they will experience massive layoffs if they do not change their leadership. They mostly ignored my points. Hopefully this event makes them wake up.

    What is Mitchel Baker doing to Mozilla? I hope they find a competent new CEO, although I doubt it. Baker should have resigned yesterday, instead of blaming her employees.

    These 70 layoffs will only save them around $14 million per year. At the same time they make around $400 million and have more than $500 million in reserve.

    Surely it would be better to reorganize the less important parts of mozilla (get rid of
    the international offices) and focus on the core product in California.

    For example, they have rented a place in the most expensive part of Berlin, a cozy hipster place.

    If they want to survive they need to fire Mitchell Baker, focus on the core product, replace their engine with Blink, and give the foundation less power over the corporation.

    This means no $40 million for future experiments. No working on hypothetical technology like Servo. No trying to save the internet. Save yourself first, Mozilla.

    Only then, with yearly expenses cut roughly in half, they can start to think about how to generate more revenue without google.

    1. michael said on January 16, 2020 at 8:45 am
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      Addendum: The only way these 70 layoffs make sense is to imagine the following conversation inside the management:

      „Ok, the 2019 financials are in, we lost 50 million.“

      „Damn, we will be bankrupt within 5 years!“

      „So, what can we do?“

      „Lets start with quickly firing those who evidently add nothing practical to the product, and then continue searching for long-term solutions.“

      As competent as the fired employees may be, there must be many groups at mozilla who have an extremely chill work routine, without contributing to anything in Firefox itself.

      When the extension outage happened, they released a report afterwards. Their own report indeed said that due to the decentralized nature of their working groups, no one really knows what anyone is doing and why.

      Without central oversight, the work culture may be chill and relaxed, but if money continues to flow no one is forced to do actual work.

      Obviously Mozilla started to forget the reason they are doing the work in the first place, and now the sad reality that money has to come from somewhere has hit them for the first time. Their customer is obviously google, not their users.

    2. John C. said on January 18, 2020 at 8:22 am
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      Women never quit once they’ve taken over an organization. I’d really be curious to know how many of the 70 employees laid off are men.

  5. Shania said on January 16, 2020 at 8:40 am
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    If five years I see them being reduced to <1% market share, adopting V3 manifest, and Mitchell Baker taking $5mil a year.

    https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1217512049716035584

    Meanwhile, chrome would probably hit north of 90%.

    I have been using firefox since 2.0 release, and still it remains my primary browser on both computer and phone. But I don't see them gaining marketshare at all from here. There will be offshoots like Palemoon, Waterfox, Brave, Edge etc but possibly as the web heads towards the obvious monopoly of Chrome, rest of them would have to mock the Chrome UA to get sites working.

    1. Travis said on January 16, 2020 at 10:00 pm
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      By that time Edge might instead be popular enough to give even Google pause – once the browser and engine are preinstalled on every windows for electron apps to rebase on top of, the very possibility of forking chromium wouldnt be an idle threat.

      MS controls Windows and can push adoption of Edge as agressively as it wants, like by always recommending Edge to anyone visiting MS-controlled websites using chrome and its clones – as well as lockdown the default browser selection option to select picks it might impose criterias upon.

      MS could also move its tracking protections into the OS itself so that its active even if google convinces users to change to and keep using chrome.

  6. michal said on January 16, 2020 at 9:34 am
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    I hope that Firefox will eventually grow, and in 5 years it regains some market share. It definitely can’t be on par with Chrome but may get stronger, especially in more consious (outside US) countries and among power users. I read their moaning here on ghacks daily on how bad Mozilla is, copying Chrome, and well, I just don’t get it.

    I feel that focus on privacy features is a good step done in with perfect timing. Privacy in internet is the topic now – for the masses, not power users. Interface customisation and extensions, as statistics have already shown, are irrelevant for the mass users.

    Fears? That if Mozilla starts growing back, then google will simply cut their deal and decide to hit the final blow to kill it’s competitor. And for company like Mozilla, going back to a garage based group of enthusiast coders is simply not a way out anymore. They would simply close down. Yeah, some reeeealy devoted ones would last and spawn new projects based on it. Palemoon/waterfox – type size, generally irrelevant. So the biggest fear is that money/monsterous capitalism may finally kill the briliant idea of internet.

    1. Samanto Hermes said on January 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm
      Reply

      If Mozilla was killed, we would lose a company that pretends to care about privacy while doing the opposite. Thereby allowing actually ethical organizations to grow, such as the Pale Moon Project and GTK (that develops WebKitGTK).

  7. notanon said on January 16, 2020 at 9:35 am
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    I hoped they fired the people who brought us the “new” Firefox icon/logo.

    Honestly, you know all the SJW parasites that don’t contribute anything, but get a paycheck are “designers”.

    Probably the same “designers” that gave us the new about:config UI, which everyone hates.

    Or fire the executives that banned the Dissenter web extension, Mozilla was the first to ban the Dissenter web extension (which provided an uncensored platform to combat tech censorship).

    You know the executives behind the decision were SJWs, because SJWs alway use censorship when they’re losing any argument (why compete in the intellectual marketplace of ideas, when you can ban the “other” side, right?).

    TLDR – I hope they didn’t fire any programmer.

    1. Iron Heart said on January 16, 2020 at 5:07 pm
      Reply

      @notanon

      You are wrong, they fired senior engineers and quality control staff, see here:

      https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22057737

      “When our product is doing bad, let’s fire our engineers, the marketing department will make it rise again without technically improving it! Also, quality doesn’t matter.”

  8. Iron Heart said on January 16, 2020 at 9:54 am
    Reply

    When I read this news, I must temper joy and sorrow in my heart. It makes me sad because the browser market will be getting less competitive should a player like Mozilla fail entirely, the recent appearance of good Chromium-based browsers notwithstanding. For us consumers, as many competitors as possible is always the best scenario. It also makes me sad due to Mozilla’s noteworthy history, and the very good browser they used to provide years ago.

    That being said, I am also somewhat happy about this news, not gonna lie. The reason for this is the following: Mozilla has repeatedly betrayed their former user base, and the former strong points of the browser that once made it great. It has also had a history of breach of trust, and seems to follow Google’s every step while pretending to defend the free web.

    One thing that made Firefox great in the past were its great customization features and the ability to extend the browser with powerful add-ons. Mozilla gutted both, and is about to gut the last vestige of it (userChrome.css). Users who made use of those features were typically multiplicators in the past, recommending Firefox to friends and family members who were still stuck with Internet Explorer. Kicking those users in the butt with Firefox 57 didn’t increase Mozilla’s market share one bit so far, so their betrayal of their former user base hasn’t really paid off so far. Did I personally need any add-on that isn’t available now? No, not really, but I can see the point when someone says that Mozilla betrayed their former core user base.

    Mozilla has a history of breaches of trust, namely incidents like the Mr. Robot add-on, Google Analytics being used inside of the browser (add-ons manager -> Discover), the Cliqz experiment that impaired the privacy of German Firefox users (it literally sent the entire browsing history back to the mother ship), boundless telemetry, ads in the browser (formerly known as “snippets”), and last but not least its overall privacy-hostile default settings (which is strange for a company claiming to protect your privacy, but I guess Google money smells too sweet to ignore).

    And then, Mozilla followed virtually every proposal Google made regarding new HTML standards, including heavy duty DRM (FYI: the source code of the Firefox’s DRM plug-in is not public, anything could be operating in there without you knowing), enabling website providers to lock down their services to an extreme degree. So, since Mozilla has followed virtually all HTML feature proposals by Google, for what exactly do we need Firefox then? Google-financed Mozilla doesn’t seem to be a hindrance for Google’s dominance anyway.

    I am sure Mozilla fans will be crying us a river in the comment section, but ask yourselves this question: How much would we really lose if the current Mozilla closes its doors? My personal guess is: Not much.

    1. Kubrick said on January 16, 2020 at 11:17 am
      Reply

      @iron heart.
      Sadly i would tend to agree with you.I have firefox 45 as portable and it is what i consider the last proper firefox version before everything changed for the worst it seems.
      I use a 32bit computer and pale moon is my main browser but of november this year the 32bit version will stop being supported so i will need a replacement.I am thinking chromium is a possibility.

    2. AmazonOverlord said on January 16, 2020 at 9:51 pm
      Reply

      @Iron Heart

      1.) I’m curious as to which browser you use? Hope it’s not Chrome, because if it is all your points against Firefox, Chrome is already doing. Plus I didn’t hear about Firefox wanting to restrict adblocks like Chrome has. Just remember you can bash for things here and there, but at least they didn’t make you the product like Chrome has. I mean its easy to see which company makes the money in ad revenue.

      2.) “I am sure Mozilla fans will be crying us a river in the comment section, but ask yourselves this question: How much would we really lose if the current Mozilla closes its doors? My personal guess is: Not much.”

      Do you know of an alternative where you have containers, in depth settings modifications via user.js, not backed by a company making money in ad revenue, compatible with Tor? FYI you can’t mention Palemoon, or Waterfox as they are forks of Firefox and if Firefox is non existent so will they.

      1. Samanto Hermes said on January 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm
        Reply

        Pale Moon doesn’t need user.js. However, Firefox does need it, since it’s the only convenient way to disable telemetry (which PM doesn’t have), and to change many settings that were removed from the GUI. Containers and anti-fingerprinting measures aren’t needed if you have a good set of uBlock filters or uMatrix recipes.

      2. AmazonOverlord said on January 17, 2020 at 10:22 pm
        Reply

        “Containers and anti-fingerprinting measures aren’t needed if you have a good set of uBlock filters or uMatrix recipes.”

        You can’t block every site known to man in adblock. Apple, Google, and Amazon combined have other 100k IP’s and it be easy for them to roll out with more IP’s. Adblock only blocks “known” addresses that is told to block. It works a lot like an antivirus in the aspect it blocks known signatures and unlike antivirus solutions ublock does not have any heuristic detection features build in so again it blocks known addresses you tell it to. You would have to block all sites that want your data completely to use ublock. :)

        Anti-fingerprint blocks are pretty important, there is no such thing as “good ublock filters” because a) your blocking only known sites, b) because of fingerprinting through images is a thing, you are getting fingerprinted regardless of rules in ublock because you would have to block sites like Google completely which is not really an option.

      3. Samanto Hermes said on January 19, 2020 at 12:31 am
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        1) You are right to say that uBO can’t include all possible trackers. However, the included trackers are blocked on all websites, unlike Facebook container: https://github.com/mozilla/contain-facebook/issues/525.
        Don’t forget about the uMatrix recipe for Facebook.

        2) Anti-fingerprinting measures are ineffective: https://www.ghacks.net/2018/07/04/study-on-the-effectiveness-of-fingerprinting-countermeasures/

        3) Unlike uBO, uMatrix isn’t based on block lists, therefore is more efficient. You could say that this isn’t easy to use for beginners, but neither Tor Browser Bundle is. Even the subset of TBB features included on Firefox can break websites.

      4. Peterc said on January 18, 2020 at 8:43 pm
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        @Samanto Hermes: I use user.js scripts in Pale Moon (and in Firefox and, formerly, in Waterfox as well) to automatically change some extension settings (notably folderpaths) when I copy my user profiles between Windows and Linux computers. (Waterfox was too much hassle to keep up to date in Linux.) I don’t “need” user.js scripts in Pale Moon the way you do with Firefox to maintain privacy (or the way you need a telemetry-controlling app in Windows, for that matter), but they sure do come in handy for other stuff!

      5. Samanto Hermes said on January 17, 2020 at 3:32 pm
        Reply

        > FYI you can’t mention Palemoon, or Waterfox as they are forks of Firefox and if Firefox is non existent so will they.
        I repeat: If Mozilla was killed, we would lose a company that pretends to care about privacy while doing the opposite. Thereby allowing actually ethical alternatives to grow, such as Pale Moon and WebkitGTK

      6. AmazonOverlord said on January 17, 2020 at 10:44 pm
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        @Samanto Hermes

        Sure Pale Moon would grow if Firefox vanishes, but you can’t really knock Firefox now and say Pale Moon is ethical when Pale Moon is built off Firefox. If Pale Moon stops using Firefox as a base, maintains the exact same privacy possibilities then can you say it is ethical in that regard. Regardless of the dumb things Mozilla does, there will always be other choices when it comes to being ethical but at the end of the day I’d choose Firefox only because I can achieve the same privacy changes as Pale Moon with a user.js and still have access to containers.

    3. Dude without a suit said on January 18, 2020 at 12:18 pm
      Reply

      So Chromium monopoly like back when IE is is totally ok for you?

      What an [Editor: please stay polite].

      1. Iron Heart said on January 18, 2020 at 9:19 pm
        Reply

        @Dude without a suit

        In case you haven’t noticed, we already have a Chromium monopoly… Firefox has 4% market share and has no influence on anything at all. Plus, Chromium is open source, there will be many browsers based on it, you don’t have to use the one called “Google Chrome”.

        Also, insults won’t get you anywhere, prick.

      2. Dude without a suit said on January 21, 2020 at 9:14 am
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        @Iron Heart: Oh sure, and Chromium supremacy is totally a good thing too! /s

        Dumbshit.

      3. Iron Heart said on January 21, 2020 at 10:13 am
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        @Dude without a suite

        We already have a Chromium monopoly, only people totally disconnected from reality (read: Firefox fanboys) haven’t noticed it yet.

        But yeah, I am certainly the dumbshit, not the people unable to grasp the current situation… 4% overall market share, RIP Firefox.

    4. Dude without a suit said on January 21, 2020 at 11:09 am
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      @Iron Heart: not to mention your comment here: https://www.ghacks.net/2020/01/19/what-is-going-on-at-opera-software/

      Intentionally posting a misleading headline (The title is only used on Fox and Infowars or other Trump supporters site) just to smear Mozilla’s reputation? That’s just low. (also how did you know that Mozilla’s support for RiseUp is SPECIFICALLY for Antifa and not just general support for privacy-focused secure communications tool?

      1. Iron Heart said on January 21, 2020 at 11:44 am
        Reply

        @Dude without a suit

        [Editor: please stay polite], please. Who are you trying to fool here? RiseUp is a communication network heavily used by Antifa, it’s most obvious:

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/01/responding-to-antifa-and-riseup-on-revolutionary-politics-and-non-violence/

        I quote from the link:

        >>Riseup states: “Our purpose is to aid in the creation of a free society, a world with freedom from want and freedom of expression, a world without oppression or hierarchy, where power is shared equally. We do this by providing communication and computer resources to allies engaged in struggles against capitalism and other forms of oppression.”<<

        This alone reeks like Antifa from a hundred miles away. But if that's not enough, just take a look at the @riseup domains in use, so many references to Marx, Lenin, Che & Co, and communism in general…

        The headline is not misleading at all, it says that Mozilla gave $100,000 to a communication platform harnessed by Antifa, and they did. It didn't say that Mozilla funded Antifa directly, though you could make the argument that they are propping them up at least indirectly if they are funding the tools they (and mostly only they) primarily use for communication.

        And pointing to things like "Oh, but a tiny tiny minuscule minority of people on RiseUp do not belong to Antifa!" is of no consequence, because the vast majority of the RiseUp users are Antifa, and are not really hiding it. That's not a valid excuse at all, because if you know that the majority of these people are Antifa, you are accepting that they will be the great benefactors of the donation.

      2. Dude without a suit said on January 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart: So supporting RiseUp = supporting Antifa. If I buy Apple phones or such I’m wholeheartedly supporting Foxconn employees being treated badly? IfI buy anything by Nestle, Hershey, and such I’m wholeheartedly supporting slavery?

        Bullshit. Just because a tool is used by a group doesn’t mean it’s tacitly supporting it.

        Quit your bullshit.

      3. Iron Heart said on January 21, 2020 at 2:49 pm
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        @Dude without a suit

        > So supporting RiseUp = supporting Antifa.

        In short: Yes. The vast majority of RiseUp users is Antifa, and RiseUp is actively defending Antifa:

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/01/responding-to-antifa-and-riseup-on-revolutionary-politics-and-non-violence/

        Again quoting from the link:

        >>One claim made by Riseup against Antifa critics is that they’re “status quo” apologists, intent on “smearing” Antifa. Riseup refers to my criticisms of Antifa as “a quintessential example of liberal hand-wringing and vapidity.”<<

        So in summary, Antifa are the overwhelming majority of RiseUp users, and RiseUp also stands up for Antifa when they are criticized. Their officially stated goal as a platform aligns with Antifa goals as well (anti-hierarchy, anti-capitalism and what not). Buuuuuuut they have definitely nothing at all to do with Antifa at all… Give me a break. :D

        I am amazed at you still not quitting and still trying to weasel your way out of it despite the overwhelming evidence for my point of view. There is a difference between "unable to see" and "not wanting to see", I let you guess to which category you belong.

      4. Iron Heart said on January 21, 2020 at 12:17 pm
        Reply

        @Martin Brinkmann

        It‘s fairly frustrating that you feel so inclined to censor my posts because they are – in your point of view – partly offensive, while others can call me „dumbshit“ and „ass“ with impunity. Not that I care much what the clown in question has to say about me, but this one-sided censorship has to end. I expect you to ban those remarks, too. They need to be martinbrinnkmanned (my new euphemism for censored) as well, so that you can appear to be impartial at least. Thank you very much.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on January 21, 2020 at 12:21 pm
        Reply

        You are right that “being polite” applies to everyone. I may overlook something and if I do, feel free to let me know. It would obviously be better if everyone would avoid personal attacks in the first place.

      6. Iron Heart said on January 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm
        Reply

        @Martin Brinkmann

        More civility would be nice, but if I am being insulted, I will respond in kind. I hope and think you can quell the lack of civility in the comments section going forward, so that such disputes do no longer have to take place.

      7. Dude without a suit said on January 23, 2020 at 9:01 am
        Reply

        @Martin Brinkmann: The problem I have is with Iron Heart using bad argument in the first place …but yeah, I guess I’m a bit too heated there.

        My apologies, will not do that again.

  9. Jeff said on January 16, 2020 at 10:07 am
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    Mozilla Firefox is a victim of “immitation is the best form of flattery.” How many things it copied from Chrome to eventually become a Chrome-clone but with Gecko/Quantum. Never screw your loyal user base if you don’t want to get irrelevant.

  10. abdou351 said on January 16, 2020 at 10:12 am
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    Acccording to ZDnet Firefox’s browser market share is now 4%. Three years ago, Firefox had 11% of users, and two years ago it had 9%.
    Firefox Private Network, Lockwise password manager and Firefox Monitor went no lifesaver.
    The cost of rendering engine development seems to be a hardest time.
    70 employees on about 1000 that’s not a drama. well to answer the question above i never liked FF i was just waiting for features that never come out, i don’t speak out about Mozilla future, i just wait an see

  11. mozillaNeedsReforms said on January 16, 2020 at 10:16 am
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    They have a lot of employees who are not devs. They have adapted agile. They invest heavily in social issues. They have changed their focus from building a browser to building an ecosystem.

    They need to be cut down heavily and refocus on what’s important, which is a browser for power-users, that will promote it in their circles and install it for people who’s PCs they manage. Sadly, the old devs, who made a great, customizable Firefox, have mostly moved on. They people still left had trouble understanding and writing xul, so they decided to gut it…

  12. Klaas Vaak said on January 16, 2020 at 10:52 am
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    The problem is that privacy focused search engines like DuckDuckGo are too small to replace Google ….

    The objective should not be to replace Google, that is completely unrealistic. The objective should be to have a viable competitor. So your suggestion to make DuckDuckGo the default search engine is a good one, in principle.

    I personally don’t like DDG because, even though it is privacy focused, there were reports during the previous presidential elections in the U.S. that DDG’s search results were biased/manipulated. IMO Qwant would be a much better alternative. I have been using it for a couple of years and its results are excellent. Occasionally I still revert to Google for a specific search, but those instances are few and far between. I also find the UI much more pleasant than DDG’s.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm
      Reply

      Qwant’s results for the UK are so-so. I also think their pathetic Qwant Maps is pants. Much as I would like to use them more frequently, they still feel very much like a Beta product.

      1. yolorag said on January 17, 2020 at 2:27 am
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        Qwant is a joke, they block access from mobile devices and force you to download their app.

      2. ilikepants said on January 19, 2020 at 10:53 am
        Reply

        qwant maps is just openstreetmap as far as I remember. openstreetmap is similar to wikipedia in that anyone can edit it so if its pants then you could possibly make it less pants.

        if you look at it another way, pants is actually pretty good considering everything you see on openstreetmap was done for free by people in their spare time

  13. Tom Hawack said on January 16, 2020 at 11:25 am
    Reply

    Quoting the article,

    “I think that Firefox development will be held back as long as Mozilla makes deals with advertising companies.”

    “A different kind of deal, e.g. a revenue share agreement, could work though but it would put a lot on the line.”

    Financial independence indeed. The point is also to know if the hard core of Firefox users is sufficiently consistent to validate what I personally would imagine, making Firefox a browser financed by its users. I’d easily spare, say $20/year or more, to keep Firefox alive and totally independent.

    Firefox within five years? As it goes the perspective I perceive is an Internet divided between a black hole crafted by the GAFAM and strong public-privacy oriented organizations. There is a war undoubtedly between commercial dictatorship (where free competition is abolished by oligarchy and monopolies) and a citizen’s will of diversity and pluralism, on the Web as elsewhere.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm
      Reply

      @Tom Hawack: good points.

    2. Iron Heart said on January 16, 2020 at 2:53 pm
      Reply

      @Tom Hawack

      Donations to the Mozilla Foundation are NOT used for Firefox development:

      https://old.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/a98gmi/donations_to_mozilla_foundation_are_not_used_for/

      Also, they have close to half a billion $$$ revenue per year already, should be enough for developing a web browser. Maybe their CEO, Mitchell Baker, shouldn’t increase her own salary every year while their market share keeps plummeting:

      https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1217517703914643456?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Enews%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

      “Freeze I’m ma Baker
      Put your hands in the air and give me all your money!”

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 16, 2020 at 4:53 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart, I wasn’t referring to donations to the Mozilla Foundation which already exist but to a Firefox subscription plan. Money, users’ money to fund, to replace advertisement revenue. Just trying to imagine a business plan oriented to a non-profit scheme, in the same way some sites call upon users in order to offer an ad-free website, or some developers to maintain freeware. The question fundamentally is this one : can we imagine a non-profit plan which relies on developers first target as elaborating quality before their own career, with reasonable salaries but free of financial ascension aspirations? I think we can it exists already, why not a “Save a free Firefox” odyssey?

      2. Iron Heart said on January 16, 2020 at 5:19 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        First off, nobody will pay any amount of money for Firefox when Google offers Chrome for free and when Microsoft already ships Edge with the operating system. Nobody.

        Secondly, why would anyone give Mozilla money? They are already earning a shit ton of money via a search engine deal with Google, they do not need our money. What they do need to do though is to not waste their money in costly side projects nobody has asked for. They also shouldn’t frequently double the salaries of the top management, and they should get rid of their luxury estates in Europe (namely the absurdly expensive offices in Paris and Berlin) – why does a browser developer need those?

        Again, nobody will pay for the browser itself, that’s why they start offering other services like VPN for which people might be willing to pay. You can’t charge for the browser itself when there are very good competitors offered for free.

      3. Tom Hawack said on January 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart,

        “First off, nobody will pay any amount of money for Firefox when Google offers Chrome for free and when Microsoft already ships Edge with the operating system. Nobody.”

        Nobody is perhaps a concept. The point is would we be enough?
        Condidering Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge only as alternatives is forgetting the specifics of Firefox. Whatever Mozilla’s mistakes their browser is not a tracking-business-oriented tool but an elaboration of the best possible match between honesty, efficiency and business required for revenue. This is the very reason why users, and not *nobody*, because they committed to these specifics, remain IMO a possible solution for a subscription-based browser. This doesn’t mean the subscription would be mandatory.

        But I admit my surprise to notice that market shares reveal that it is an ad company’s browser that leads the band. Human nature is surprising unless to consider that principles remain valid among many of us as long as their counterpart allows it.

      4. John Fenderson said on January 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart:

        > nobody will pay any amount of money for Firefox when Google offers Chrome for free and when Microsoft already ships Edge with the operating system. Nobody.

        Well, not nobody. If Firefox was a product that made me happy to use, I’d absolutely be willing to pay for it, regardless of Chrome or Edge (particularly since there’s zero chance that I’ll use Chrome or Edge regardless.)

        But you’re right, most people wouldn’t pay.

      5. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 3:33 am
        Reply

        Opera did the pay thing before. Sure some people paid but it’s not enough to cover the development cost, after that they make Opera free because they realized their market couldn’t grow further anymore.

  14. Anonymous said on January 16, 2020 at 11:51 am
    Reply

    Not all but in large part being home grown by Moz and being the logical consequence of how they treat their user base. One of the last coffin nails will be user.js that is now in the cross-hairs.

    Comments on their bug tracker about changes to FX’s functionality are being met by Moz affiliates with vigorous hostility that would not have been exhibited as few years back.

    Writing is on the wall, Moz will be lucky to make it past the next three years.

  15. Sebas said on January 16, 2020 at 11:55 am
    Reply

    As long as extensions like ublock origin work on Firefox and almost not on all the chromium clones, it is still worth using it. Until they adapt Manifest V3 too. Then it is over. The expected stable release of it in Google Chrome is this year.

  16. ab said on January 16, 2020 at 11:59 am
    Reply

    so many employees, so little progress… it’s time for mozilla to learn about managing.

  17. Clairvaux said on January 16, 2020 at 12:02 pm
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    I suggest they fire first the diversity officers, the inclusivity enforcers and all assorted professional do-gooders.

    Then they could concentrate on developing, you know, a computer program.

    Alternatively, they could partner with Harry and Meghan Markle. Woke ex-royals as patrons of a woke browser. That would suit them perfectly.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm
      Reply

      Marklezilla Harryfox…?

    2. stan said on January 16, 2020 at 5:29 pm
      Reply

      Yep it’s all gone swimmingly since Baker and her acolytes set up Brendan Eich, arguably
      Mozilla’s ‘Jobs’.
      Even Beard and Dixon left the funny farm.
      Baker needs to go; TODAY.
      In her world Firefox is just an ATM deposit box to finance her gang’s lunatic agenda.

    3. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 11:39 am
      Reply

      Racism disrupts businesses.

  18. Kwasiarz said on January 16, 2020 at 12:43 pm
    Reply

    I seriously hope this does not affect Firefox badly, if yes, then Pale Moon would become the only non-chrome alternative, and its devs can be difficult at times…

    1. Jody Thornton said on January 20, 2020 at 11:42 am
      Reply

      What’s worse is that I returned back to Pale Moon recently, and while it’s working great right now, how long will that last without Firefox to charter the lead?

  19. Peter said on January 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm
    Reply

    Firefox is the last “big” browser. When Mozilla go belly up (which they inevitably will), the last remnant of the old web will be cleansed. My only hope is that there’s an escape pod ready.

  20. Sue said on January 16, 2020 at 1:08 pm
    Reply

    Don’t feel too sorry for them they basically have a single product, not much happens with thunderbird, yet they raked in $451m for 2018. Makes you wonder how inefficient they are if that’s not enough to prevent layoffs.

    Perhaps stop giving donations to some very questionable organizations (have a read about that) and put that towards development. Also stop pretending/implying that donations do go towards development when they don’t.

    1. John Fenderson said on January 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm
      Reply

      @Sue:

      Thunderbird hasn’t been a Mozilla product for years.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 16, 2020 at 5:10 pm
        Reply

        @John Fenderson: so, who owns Thunderbird? Or, whose product is it?

      2. John Fenderson said on January 16, 2020 at 5:55 pm
        Reply

        Mozilla jettisoned Thunderbird in 2007. In 2008, The Mozilla Foundation (not corporation) formed a new subsidiary called Mozilla Messaging, which took on Thunderbird development. In 2012, that ended as well and it became a community-driven project that is not controlled by Mozilla, but Mozilla continues to provide some some support for. That’s how it operates to this day.

        Not coincidentally, it was in 2012 that active Thunderbird development started again.

      3. Sue said on January 16, 2020 at 6:14 pm
        Reply

        OK so a teeny tiny part of the money is used to pay for Mozilla to help on the project these days. So a one product company that can’t get by with close to $0.5 billion, I bet most companies wish they were so lucky.

      4. John Fenderson said on January 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm
        Reply

        @Sue:

        Mozilla is not giving money to the Thunderbird project as far as I’m aware. The support they’re providing is in terms of infrastructure, access to expertise, etc.

      5. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 3:38 am
        Reply

        @John
        Sue’s point is: without Thunderbird means Firefox is the only has one product they have to maintain(not 2 products). But with their big revenue why are they still losing? 1000 employees, what are they doing?

      6. Sue said on January 17, 2020 at 7:42 pm
        Reply

        Yes that was meant to be my point.

      7. Stan said on January 17, 2020 at 7:50 pm
        Reply

        Making badges to distribute at MozFest?

      8. Sue said on January 17, 2020 at 7:47 pm
        Reply

        I didn’t say that they give them money I said costs them money, even if it is a trivial amount. They pay their engineers who help the TB devs, they pay for the infrastructure…. But that wasn’t really my point, my point was “So a one product company that can’t get by with close to $0.5 billion”.

      9. Klaas Vaak said on January 16, 2020 at 6:43 pm
        Reply

        @John Fenderson: thanks for the explanation.

  21. Gerard said on January 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm
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    I am not optimistic about Mozilla’s future. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and a few other USA-based corporations are too big and too powerful. The government of the USA does not want to break them up, as has happened in the past with a number of companies which had grown too big and powerful. So in all likelihood they will continue to dominate the markets. Mozilla is too small to seriously compete in the browser market, dominated by Google and Microsoft. Firefox has already become a niche product. The various excellent Linux desktop distributions and numerous [free] applications for the discerning user have never grown beyond that.

    1. jern said on January 16, 2020 at 5:35 pm
      Reply

      Collectively, those corporations have more money than the entire American government. (Current U.S. National Debt about -$23 trillion) Any attempt to break them up would be met with an onslaught of lawsuits that could drag on for decades.

      Actually, Trump’s administration would love to break up Amazon. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, one of the news organizations most critical of Trump’s governance. However, at this moment Jeffy is the richest guy in the world (est. $107.8 billion). Probably best to leave him alone.

    2. notanon said on January 18, 2020 at 4:34 am
      Reply

      Facebook has been dying for YEARS.

      Facebook has already been replaced by Tiktok as the second most downloaded app.

      Microsoft acquired the 10 BILLION dollar JEDI contract from the U.S. Department of Defense over Amazon AWS (thank you Washington Post for “resisting” so vehemantly, that it cost Jeff Bezos $10 billion, ROTFLMAO).

      With that $10 billion, Microsoft Azure could overtake Amazon AWS one day & become the dominant player in cloud computing.

      Google only has to fear an ANTITRUST action by the U.S. government (look at what they did to Microsoft because of Internet Explorer’s domination after Netscape died) IF Mozilla Firefox were to fail, because they would own the browser matket w/ Chrome/Chromium (controlled by Google). Yes, there’s Apple’s Safari, but having Apple as a competitor didn’t stop the U. S. Justice Department from going after Microsoft decades ago.

      Google is always going to prop up Mozilla, because nothing short of an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department can stop them from dominating tech in the future (AT&T was broken up by the antitrust action of the U.S. Justice Department).

      If Firefox were to die, then Google would find itself facing an antitrust lawsuit in short order.

  22. Kincaid said on January 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm
    Reply

    I think Firefox is great, and is still the best web browser out there. But I don’t understand how Mozilla has spent over a billion dollars in revenue over the last few years. Does it really take a billion dollars to keep a browser updated these days? Where is all that money going?

    I don’t know, but I think if you gave me just half a billion dollars, I could lead a team to create one heck of a browser that would be ultra customizable, private, fast, and reliable. That describes Firefox pretty well, but what did they do with the other $500 million?

    And what about the hundreds of million (billions?) in revenue from previous years?

    1. michael said on January 16, 2020 at 6:44 pm
      Reply

      Any company with easy revenue that doesn’t report to anyone outside will become simply a money grab for the top employees and managers.

      Mozilla earns $500,000 per employee. One would think that’s enough to break even.

      Anyway, now that the money grab scheme is finally starting to crumble, they need to fire a percentage of their employees to continue the money grab operation for the rest of the staff.

      If Mitchel Baker actually wanted to create a better product she would replace the entire management with fresh people and the resign herself afterwards; to make room for a competent CEO, and only fire people AFTER a reorganization.

      Last year I wrote somewhere on site site that the ex-CEO is leaving because of crumbling revenue and it looks like I was right. He left just in time not to be responsible for the layoff.

  23. Dave said on January 16, 2020 at 3:18 pm
    Reply

    Am I the only one that noticed how you slipped the advertisments past our ad blockers?

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 17, 2020 at 10:03 am
      Reply

      @Dave: you must be because none got past my ad blocker.

      1. William said on January 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm
        Reply

        He’s talking about the posted image in the article.

  24. zoe said on January 16, 2020 at 3:31 pm
    Reply

    I was reading the threads about this. Senior engineers and QA seem to be the main losers which is madness. Funnily enough the CEO’s $multi-million salary is untouched which has increased four fold over the last few years despite a dwindling user base and revenue.

    1. NA said on January 16, 2020 at 6:04 pm
      Reply

      Social Justice Convergence is almost like a virus. It replaces the main goal of the company, a good product at a profit, with social justice, until the company either changes course or is bankrupt.

  25. pHROZEN gHOST said on January 16, 2020 at 4:26 pm
    Reply

    They are probably just getting rid of their quality assurance team.

    1. Peterc said on January 16, 2020 at 11:35 pm
      Reply

      @pHROZEN gHOST:

      “They are probably just getting rid of their quality assurance team.”

      If that’s true, then Mozilla isn’t just copying Google — it’s copying Microsoft, too!

  26. Max said on January 16, 2020 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

    In 5 years maybe they’ll have replaced their management team, ditched Google…

    …and have launched a new browser based on a fork of Pale Moon ;-)

  27. Sebas said on January 16, 2020 at 7:19 pm
    Reply

    When I read this: https://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2018/08/07/in-memoriam-gervase-markham/

    And then this: https://lwn.net/Articles/762345/ and this: http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2018/07/29/gerv.html I changed my mind about Mozilla,Firefox and especially Mitchell Baker who to this day enjoys her multi-million salary, while laying of 70 others.

    It is disgusting to treat a deceased person the way Baker did. Nothing is lost when Firefox dies in about four years. It is a only shadow of what it was when it started anyway.

    1. Iron Heart said on January 17, 2020 at 9:03 pm
      Reply

      @Sebas

      Wow, such an evil hag. Truly vomit-inducing, and extremely shabby. Might also add that she is clearly in it for the money:

      https://twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1217512049716035584

      1. Sebas said on January 18, 2020 at 5:57 pm
        Reply

        Yes that graphic from Eich shows it all. Firefox won’t survive but she will leave with a trainload full of money.

    2. anonymous said on January 18, 2020 at 2:31 am
      Reply

      Let’s not forget about what Mozilla did to their former CEO Brendan Eich.

      1. Sebas said on January 18, 2020 at 5:58 pm
        Reply

        No I do not in any way. You are right to mention that.

    3. Lord-Lestat said on January 18, 2020 at 6:11 pm
      Reply

      And the question is answered by now.. if you have such a crazy leftist rather intolerant anti-Moderates/Conservatives/Christians leadership… what for people you expect to gain as fellowship as a browser developer?

      If you have such people leading your ship, what do you honestly think your development concept is turning into?

      Mozilla is nothing else than real life version of Mordor.

      And only utterly aggressive/dismissive leftists would use Firefox today. Opposed to the past, where Mozilla also had open arms for political moderate and conservative users. As they still believed in options, choice and features instead of mimicking other developers to shamelessly try to absorb that competitions users and not giving a single f* about their own target user group, which made them, which defended them in the past.

      Nothing more to be said to this poor and very sad only topic! A company is only as good as the ideology it embraces, and in Mozillas case it is a fully excluding one if you are not on the 1000% Leftist side.

      1. Sebas said on January 19, 2020 at 3:08 pm
        Reply

        You’re totally right and I will remove Firefox as soon as I have exported bookmarks and imported and organized in another browser. Firefox is still better privacy wise but there is a limit on tolerating the intolerance of these fake sjw’s.

        Firefox will end in tree years anyway and deservedly so.

    4. Lord-Lestat said on January 18, 2020 at 6:18 pm
      Reply

      And what is even worse… Mozilla are cowards and try to dodge conflicts and complaints instead of facing people in a honest and open conversation who oppose their rather anti-power-user inclusive mentality these days. No, they silence them, ban them and ignore them on purpose!

      They deconstruct one piece at one time until all is gone as they hope that the resistance and complaints against their Chrome addiction are vanishing one by one at a given point in time. Welcome to Mozillas wonderful own creation of the “Utopia” called Panem!

      With MB as President Snow(flake)! And it should be the job and/or dedication of every thinking intelligent user to play the role of “Katniss Everdeen” !

  28. JohnIL said on January 16, 2020 at 7:28 pm
    Reply

    They could eliminate a lot more jobs and focus on paying developers to focus on Firefox. The sore spot for Mozilla is they grew in areas that never produced fruit and never shrank when those failed. Now they face crunch time as revenue sources dry up or are not reaping what they had hoped. Mostly because their market share of Firefox keeps shrinking. A valid point was why is Mozilla located in San Fransisco ? Has to be one of the most expensive places to operate a business. I wish them luck, but it seems that only recently they have become woke to the reality of their shrinking revenue.

  29. Bobby Phoenix said on January 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm
    Reply

    Just stick to Firefox, and make it as awesome as it once was. Give enough time between updates to polish useful features (stop this rapid release crap), and stop removing customization options people use even if it’s the minority using them. A lot are useful, and may just not have been discovered by people. Otherwise you’ll stretch yourself too thin (which seems to be happening), and soon enough you’ll disappear.

  30. Benjamin said on January 16, 2020 at 8:51 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft once supported the Apple Corp. and kept it alive over many years. This was done to avoid accusations of being a monopoly in the operating system market.

    Perhaps Google is doing the similar to avoid to harsh criticism as is the norm with too powerful corporations.

    1. ULBoom said on January 17, 2020 at 3:31 am
      Reply

      Yeah, Bill Gates, well MS, is why Apple even exists today; he loaned them $150 million in 1997 when they were at death’s door. Why? Why not, Apple was tiny compared to MS at the time, $150 million was nothing.

      An ancient article, kind of funny today:

      https://money.cnn.com/1997/08/08/technology/apple_microsoft_pkg/

      1. jenny said on January 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm
        Reply

        “Why not” wasn’t the reason at all.

    2. jern said on January 17, 2020 at 3:52 pm
      Reply

      If MS hadn’t saved Apple they wouldn’t have had anyone to copy.

  31. NoOne said on January 16, 2020 at 10:05 pm
    Reply

    Firefox has fallen so much…last time I used it when it had 25% market share….I guess right now Firefox it’s favorably among Linux based users as it is a default browser on every linux distro ….on windows pretty much every one uses Chrome. lol

  32. Sol Shine said on January 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm
    Reply

    quote: “Also in 2017, Mozilla paid $2.3 million to its chair, Mitchell Baker, a key executive since Mozilla’s early days.” from https://www.cnet.com/news/google-firefox-search-deal-gives-mozilla-more-money-to-push-privacy/

    They waste money on a foolish managers who make bad choices that make Firefox a worse browser.

    But do not forget that at the same time Google is shooting themselves in the foot by making it harder to block trackers and malware ads in Chrome.
    Personalized ads are Google’s main revenue. Google is so scared and deperate that they are proposing nonsense like Privacy Budget to stop the increased blocking of third party cookies (trackers).
    If Google keeps making Chrome more privacy unfriendly, more people will ditch Chrome and all the Chromium based browsers that do not undo the bad Google code.
    Microsoft is also a evil spying monster, so many users may not go to Chromium Edge.

    The alternative is Firefox. So I hope that by the time users are moving from Chrome, Baker and the other bad managers are gone, and Mozilla can be trusted again and is busy making Firefox so good that enough users are willing to make yearly donations or pay for certain services.

    As long as Mozilla keeps the bad managers, they will not get my money.
    I will use Ungoogled Chromium if Firefox dies.

  33. nealis said on January 16, 2020 at 11:29 pm
    Reply

    Nobody is surprised. All these tech companies seem to operate on funny money. It seems that everything is ok until it isn’t. Mozilla was probably one of the worst as a “non profit” organization, but they have 1000 workers which is absurd for company who only real product is a fading desktop browser.

  34. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 12:16 am
    Reply

    fish stinks from the head.

    and the other thing:
    users have the wrong preferences and its getting worse, bc theres no one telling them hows done right.
    the noobs: browser has to be fast and super comfortable. but they totally fail to comprehend what they give up for it when they dont look on things like privacy and what happens when you let the market getting into a monopoly. Google is close to dictating everything, from design to protocols. that cannot be good.
    so, the only but timeconsuming, hard way is to persuade users that there are more important things like comfort and renderspeed. start to make firefox a product ppl would pay money for.
    privacy, independence, and free choice of addons are what makes a great browser (in case it can do the basics). it works, but it needs time and patience – and its against the general trend, were the average joe users becoming more and more the mindless sheep that fail to understand the big picture. (see how they jumped on win10 w/o any scepticism)

  35. Wayfarer said on January 17, 2020 at 12:43 am
    Reply

    I’m an old guy with – admittedly – an old guy’s pessimism.

    Firefox, Thunderbird – and a lot of others. How we loved them in the past.

    But the big boys (and girls) in suits have taken over. No question about that. It’s not about free widespread communication anymore, it’s increasingly about money, politics and hugely dubious ‘information.’

    The late George Carlin once commented – hilariously but accurately – that the world was being steadily converted to a huge shopping mall. Which most gullible consumers reckoned was “just fucking dandy!”

    Today, I simply can’t shake the conviction that within the next decade (by which time I won’t need to worry about it any more) at least SOME people will be saying:

    “Remember the REAL internet, before it became just a controlled shopping mall, personal abuse and political NewSpeak channel?
    Jeez! Wasn’t it GREAT while it lasted?”

    The rest of the people will be saying, “Data abuse? I don’t give a shit as long as you can get fast food or the latest piece of expensive technology to my doorstep within the hour!”

    1. ULBoom said on January 17, 2020 at 3:48 am
      Reply

      Phone culture ran away with anything resembling sanity then when the addiction set in ad companies hijacked the web with guilt “If we don’t spray your phones with so many ads they don’t work right, the rich internet experience (GAWD, I hate that word!) you enjoy will be a thing of the past.”

      That’s exactly what I want, a web that works; notification fueled dopamine fiends won’t hear of it.

      Although, those cascading popups endemic to the mid ’90’s can stay in cold storage!

    2. Benjamin said on January 17, 2020 at 6:56 am
      Reply

      I agree in some ways… enjoy it while it lasted and becoming one big shopping mall and propaganda outlet for sinister forces.

      Yet i can see younger ones being fully aware of all this and they are capable to think just as well as some of the older generation did.

      It is billions in cash against millions of people.

    3. John Fenderson said on January 17, 2020 at 9:30 pm
      Reply

      @Wayfarer:

      > I simply can’t shake the conviction that within the next decade (by which time I won’t need to worry about it any more) at least SOME people will be saying:
      >
      > “Remember the REAL internet, before it became just a controlled shopping mall, personal abuse and political NewSpeak channel?
      > Jeez! Wasn’t it GREAT while it lasted?”

      “Within the next decade” is right now. I am amongst an increasing number of people who say this very thing. The internet is a pale shadow of what it used to be.

    4. Max said on January 18, 2020 at 1:38 am
      Reply

      Not sure exactly where to interject my comment in this excellent discussion, but as tegards the disintegration of the *old* internet by the simple masses and their appliance telephones, I was in town today, went to Walmart, Kroger, a few other places, Walmart: papa bear, mama bear, baby bear walking toward the entrance, a phone in front of every face, a young couple each with a phone, oblivious of traffic, Kroger: customers walking around with phones, talking, surfing, checking grocery lists in, I suppose, the cloud! A young tyke, maybe six? Walking around playing a game on his device, unaware of anything going on around him or which way his parents went. I was just waiting (wanting?) for him to run into a stack of cereal boxes! Thanks for letting me vent.

  36. Peterc said on January 17, 2020 at 12:46 am
    Reply

    What I find most worrisome is how the GAFAM companies have been allowed to impose what are essentially private, self-serving web standard and protocols, which most web designers dutifully adopt (because GAFAM products have the biggest market share), and which force developers of competing Internet products to constantly play a losing game of catch-up. I think there is a role for government intervention here. As someone else pointed out, it’s not going to come from the US, but there is a small chance it could come from the EU.

    I can’t predict where Mozilla will be in five years, but I do know that what catapulted Firefox into the forefront — before Google Chrome began heavily advertising its insidious data-mining app, Chrome, all over the place — was innovation, customizability, extensibility, user control, and, at least to some degree (pre-Snowden), privacy. Today, there is still some innovation, but in the big things, Firefox just follows Google Chrome’s moves. Customizability and extensibility are pale reflections of what they once were. User control is steadily being eliminated. And you have to work like *hell* to ensure *some* degree of privacy (or else the voluminous Ghacks user.js script would be considerably shorter). This is *not* the browser that so many people loved before Australis and Quantum and WebExtensions.

    I’d say that to avoid extinction, Firefox needs to return to the basic tenets that once made it great: independence, honesty, transparency, customizability, powerful extensions, *actual* privacy, and complete user control. But what do I know? I’m just a user, not a $400,000-plus-a-year CEO who gets most of her money from a deal with Google. What’s the old saying? Was it “Money corrupts; Google money corrupts absolutely”? Well, it was *something* like that. ;-)

    In the meantime, I hope some of Mozilla’s laid-off coders will consider contributing to Pale Moon, the only browser that’s attempting to forge ahead on the user-centric trail blazed by the original, “pre-Google-Chrome” Firefox. (Yeah, there’s Waterfox Classic, kind-a, sort-a. I *believe* it’s more closely tied to current Firefox code than Pale Moon is, and I’m not sure how long it will survive whatever new stunts Mozilla pulls in the future.)

  37. Stan said on January 17, 2020 at 3:17 am
    Reply

    Interesting article I missed from Dec last year,

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/3487825/mozilla-in-trouble-2018-revenue-fell-20-expenses-exceed-income-for-first-time.html

    @On the Moz/Oath lawsuit

    “Three months ago, that suit was dismissed when the parties settled out of court. Terms of that settlement were not disclosed.”

    Hmm…. In light of recent developments surely they should be?

  38. ULBoom said on January 17, 2020 at 3:18 am
    Reply

    FF is still the only mainstream Windows browser that can be customized into something pleasant to look at and with some internal effort made fairly private. ESR is excellent, smoother and faster than the release version. I hope FF sticks around.

    With external blockers, even Chromia can be made private and have nice white pages with no or few ads. Where they falter is over VPN’s; constant captchas, dead ends and BS repetitive warnings, a much more onerous experience than IE or Old Edge. FF barely hiccups over VPN’s.

    Today’s announcement means little; if 70 people had been hired would anyone wax ecstatic about how great FF is now? Hardly; it wouldn’t change things much and neither will loss of 70. Mozilla’s a designated whipping boy; comparisons to Chrome are nuts. Google slaughtered everyone, they went down the bowels of MS today! The Be Evil Empire, to which Mozilla is barely pocket change, is the basis for scorning Mozilla? Huh?

    Mozilla’s weird bubble strategy of trying to sell a higher support version of the browser and that silly VPN (the LAST place a VPN should be is in a browser) reinforces that browser development is done, they’re looking for fly shit in pepper instead of focusing on new products that give customers a reason to go to Mozilla while letting FF cruise along. Google’s not developing Chrome, they’re making it scrape data better than ever while maintaining the ugly interface with that obnoxious bouncing url bar. Chrome’s not a product, it’s Google’s browser based user ad data collection software ( check their quartely reports.)

    Google and FB are on the edge of being DOJ’s MS 1999 v.2, their market share is far too high. Plus everyone hates them (and they both catagorically suck at real product development)! Fallout may gift Mozilla in a tiny way; they still need to come up with a new and very different core product line if they want to grow by shunning the “tech” degeneration into a few huge ad companies fighting for this weeks trillion dollar market cap. Keep FF going, keep it secure but don’t screw with it, that pisses off people. Monopolies can have lots of angry customers, smaller companies can’t.

  39. Dawood said on January 17, 2020 at 6:22 am
    Reply

    I love Firefox.
    Hearing this makes me very disappointed. 😢😢😢

  40. Ray said on January 17, 2020 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    Should Firefox have a chromium backend? Firefox no longer has panorama mode or the full capability of extensions as before. My long loved extension tabmixplus is but a shadow of itself under webextensions. Microsoft has moved to the chromium bandwagon with the likes of Vivaldi, etc.

    What do you think?

    1. John Fenderson said on January 17, 2020 at 9:32 pm
      Reply

      @Ray:

      If Firefox adopted Chromium as its backend, that would ensure that I would never touch it again.

  41. GabrielWeinberg said on January 18, 2020 at 9:44 pm
    Reply

    > privacy focused search engines like DuckDuckGo

    Fyi DDG has worse privacy than Google. If you fall for random marketing slogans by American for profit companies like DDG or Braves “Private, Fast, Secure” etc. bullshit you deserve to be data mined away.

    If you need privacy you use services inside the EU. Anything else just proves you are trying to intentionally mislead people or have no clue what you’re talking about.

    1. Tom Hawack said on January 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm
      Reply

      @GabrielWeinberg, you’re absolutely right.

    2. thebrowser said on January 20, 2020 at 7:05 am
      Reply

      I’ve been a little suspicious about DuckDuckGo and how fast they have grown lately. However, I’m not convinced either that they are, as you put it, worse than Google. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a long time and I’m not seeing any targeted ads, receiving any fishing emails or anything of the like it. Even when I don’t use an ad blocker-extension or whatever.

      I’d reall love to see some sources of what you’re claiming about DuckDuckGo.

      1. Sebas said on January 20, 2020 at 11:18 am
        Reply

        Use MetaGer, a German search engine. Germany has tough privacy laws although Merkel is trying to break them. You can even open anomalously a website.

      2. NoOne said on January 24, 2020 at 1:42 am
        Reply

        If you know how a search engine works you would know that every single one of them does tracking..otherwise it will not give you what you search for.

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