Mozilla lays off 250 employees in massive company reorganization - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla lays off 250 employees in massive company reorganization

Mozilla announced today that it plans to lay off 250 employees to restructure Mozilla Corporation significantly. The blog post was published by CEO Mitchell Baker on the official Mozilla blog.

The restructuring will strengthen the companies "ability to build and invest in products and services" according to Baker. Mozilla Corporation's initial plan for 2020 already saw the company focusing on diversifying revenue by creating new products, some of which commercial in nature.

Baker notes that the global pandemic impacted Mozilla's revenue significantly so that changes needed to be made to the plan for 2020 and beyond.

mozilla lay off 250

Mozilla plans to lay off 250 employees and shift work roles for another 60 employees. The company had around 1000 full-time employees in 2018 but laid off 70 employees in January 2020 already. With today's announcement, Mozilla fired almost a third of the company's workforce in a single year.

Mozilla will be smaller but also more quickly and nimbly according to Baker. She revealed five areas of focus for the restructured Mozilla. What may surprise Firefox users and employees is that Firefox is not mentioned once when it comes to these areas.

New focus on product. Mozilla must be a world-class, modern, multi-product internet organization. That means diverse, representative, focused on people outside of our walls, solving problems, building new products, engaging with users and doing the magic of mixing tech with our values. To start, that means products that mitigate harms or address the kinds of the problems that people face today. Over the longer run, our goal is to build new experiences that people love and want, that have better values and better characteristics inside those products.

New mindset. The internet has become the platform. We love the traits of it — the decentralization, its permissionless innovation, the open source underpinnings of it, and the standards part — we love it all. But to enable these changes, we must shift our collective mindset from a place of defending, protecting, sometimes even huddling up and trying to keep a piece of what we love to one that is proactive, curious, and engaged with people out in the world. We will become the modern organization we aim to be — combining product, technology and advocacy — when we are building new things, making changes within ourselves and seeing how the traits of the past can show up in new ways in the future.

New focus on technology. Mozilla is a technical powerhouse of the internet activist movement. And we must stay that way. We must provide leadership, test out products, and draw businesses into areas that aren’t traditional web technology. The internet is the platform now with ubiquitous web technologies built into it, but vast new areas are developing (like Wasmtime and the Bytecode Alliance vision of nanoprocesses). Our vision and abilities should play in those areas too.

New focus on community. Mozilla must continue to be part of something larger than ourselves, part of the group of people looking for a better internet. Our open source volunteers today — as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who donate to and participate in Mozilla Foundation’s advocacy work — are a precious and critical part of this. But we also need to go further and think about community in new ways. We must be increasingly open to joining others on their missions, to contribute to the better internet they’re building.

New focus on economics. Recognizing that the old model where everything was free has consequences, means we must explore a range of different business opportunities and alternate value exchanges. How can we lead towards business models that honor and protect people while creating opportunities for our business to thrive? How can we, or others who want a better internet, or those who feel like a different balance should exist between social and public benefit and private profit offer an alternative? We need to identify those people and join them. We must learn and expand different ways to support ourselves and build a business that isn’t what we see today.

Mozilla needs to focus on finding new "business opportunities and alternate value exchanges" according to the blog post.  The company launched Mozilla VPN recently in some countries, and did rename it briefly before launch to use the Mozilla brand instead of the Firefox brand.

The post provides little information about Firefox; in fact, Firefox is mentioned just once in the blog post and it is unclear if and how Firefox development is impacted by the new round of layoffs. Mozilla's search deal with Google runs out later this year and it has not been renewed yet. The money from that deal makes up more than 90% of Mozilla's revenue.

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Mozilla lays off 250 employees in massive company reorganization
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Mozilla lays off 250 employees in massive company reorganization
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Mozilla announced today that it plans to lay off 250 employees to restructure Mozilla Corporation significantly. The blog post was published by CEO Mitchell Baker on the official Mozilla blog.
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Comments

  1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 11, 2020 at 8:50 pm
    Reply

    Wanted to use the first comment to provide my thoughts on all of this. As far as the facts are concerned, Mozilla laid off about a third of its staff this year, that is a lot.

    I don’t understand how Covid can impact Mozilla’s revenue that much, considering that most revenue comes from the Google Search deal. Unless searches have gone way done because people used Firefox less, which I doubt is that serious, it seems likely that other reasons have played a role at least partially.

    It would be devastating if Google would not renew the search deal or pay less. While there is Microsoft to consider as an alternative with its Bing search engine, it is probably Mozilla’s only chance to get the millions it needs. A search deal with a privacy focused search engine such as DuckDuckGo would be risky, but it might work.

    Mozilla wants to focus on new products and wants to make sure that its values are part of the products; this may not please everyone, especially those who believe that tech products should not be paired with political agendas or other non-tech activities.

    A pessimist might see the announcement in the following way: use the Firefox money as long as it is there to push other tech products and certain ideals.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 9:12 pm
      Reply

      > A search deal with a privacy focused search engine such as DuckDuckGo would be risky, but it might work.

      DuckDuckGo is not big enough to sustain the behemoth Mozilla. Although partnering with DuckDuckGo could potentially steer them in the right direction again, emphasis on “potentially”.

      1. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 2:21 am
        Reply

        Well, considering DuckDuckGo history and especially CEO’s past, I don’t understand why people keep believing DDG is somehow the savior of search engines, they are not worst than google but they are surely not what they say they are.
        And while they don’t censor as much as Google does, but I have seen with my own eyes how some weak individual felt insulted by an image search result showing a small like political statement and in 3 seconds someone said they would fix it. So they censor and change results to their liking, what’s next? Remove websites and stuff they don’t like just like google does?
        DDG also give donations to some organizations that show their bias, and show why they might do more censorship in the future.
        But even without all these issues, just reading CEO’s past and how even DDG android app was getting more information than they always promise and talk about.
        So what “right direction” could that be, I wonder.

        But then, this is about Mozilla and it seems they are going to die for good, why would it be bad? look what they were doing couple weeks ago, sending people push messages on Firefox on the phone to support a censorship campaign against Facebook, because apparently Facebook isn’t censoring enough already.
        Also some weeks ago, they were showing on PC Firefox couple messages about how people had to learn about dumb lies to feel white guilt (or whatever) and some more lame virtue signaling made up crap.
        People weren’t too happy especially the android users, so probably they lost many users for that woke action. I mean, let’s remember how they kicked Brendan Eich, years ago, well, they are worst today.

        The real question should be, do we need Firefox or Mozilla? nah, especially if they believe people should be censored and internet should be exclusive only to people they, not for everyone.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 8:40 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        > So what “right direction” could that be, I wonder.

        While DuckDuckGo isn’t perfect, its influence would still be less toxic than that of Google, I imagine. But anyway, this is a phantom discussion, DuckDuckGo doesn’t have enough money to fund Mozilla.

        > The real question should be, do we need Firefox or Mozilla? nah,

        I agree.

      3. Paul(us) said on August 12, 2020 at 3:40 am
        Reply

        Personally I saw this coming last year when the first rumors circulated thru the internet community. That it’s done by pointing to the COVID-19 crisis is not good manners.
        I am daring to write this because like Martin I think there were even more searches in the COVID-19 period the last mounts, then there were when there was no COVID-19, in the same period this year.
        I think that there is a ferry good change that Google is trying to pay for one finger and is asking to get the whole hand from Mozilla (Thunderbird included).

        I say go for Duckduckgo right now this because Duckduckgo opposite to google is a ferry reputable firm and yes I think they will get less money with that deal. But maybe, in the long run, there is a change that Mozilla will get the same amount of money again because when there making right now a financial agreement deal with Duckduckgo, Mozilla will get the sympathy of the internet.

      4. Hans said on August 12, 2020 at 9:06 pm
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        @paul, duckduckgo a reputable firm? To whom? 9 of 10 don’t even know it or think it sucks after trying it because of bad search results and go back to google search. This is what people, the mass cares about, the search results they get to be relevant and duckduckgo can’t do it as a bing proxy it is.

    2. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 3:00 am
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      Here’s my take, Martin. Going back to one of your previous articles, it may stand to reason that 1,000 employees is more than Mozilla needs if a bunch of them were tasked to come up with that “New Print Preview” in Firefox. I feel sorry for those laid off, but I could do without many of the “shell game,” pointless rearrangements and redesigns that Firefox is constantly releasing. 81 major versions of this program (the last two are still in the works) and counting. Daily updates if you are in the beta group. What is all this about? A browser, like an operting system, should be largely TRANSPARENT. Some advances are appreciated, sure. Browser security is important. But I have a feeling that a bunch of those people were the kind that I was envisioning when I criticized the need for a “New Print Preview.”

    3. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 5:18 am
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      @ Martin

      Didn’t Alphabet record the first drop in revenue in the company’s history last quarter due to COVID? My understanding is that 40% of Google’s ad revenue comes from small to mid-sized businesses and those were the businesses most impacted by the lock-downs and decreased consumer activity. Advertising is usually the first thing a company will slash in the face of a downturn, so I wouldn’t be shocked if Googles ad revenues from search took a hit.

      Still, I suspect that a big part of this is Mozilla wanting a similar or greater amount of money for the next search deal and Google calling their bluff. Firefox is increasingly irrelevant as a browser in terms of market share and while I want Firefox to succeed, I don’t know how today’s news represents anything other than the start of the end of the line for the company and potentially the browser

  2. Flotzilla said on August 11, 2020 at 9:00 pm
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    Will be interesting/terrifying to see the amounts of advertising they will start pumping into Firefox now.. Here’s an idea for you Mozilla: Make Firefox completely bloat-free, a lean mean killing machine. THAT’S the way to go, since all other browsers are going all superbloatbehemoth mega-intrusive hypergarbage.

    1. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 11:15 pm
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      I doubt t his would work, and if so, it would take many years – as it looks like Mozilla needs money NOW.

      1. Flotzilla said on August 12, 2020 at 9:26 am
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        Here’s an idea: Don’t give away the new bloat-free, snappiest best browser in the world, for free. I would GLADLY pay for it. Not even joking. Every browser we have today is an intrusive spy, where the main focus not being a good browser but a good data and privacy molester.

  3. Sebas said on August 11, 2020 at 9:02 pm
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    Lol! Second! So I went to that blog assuming it is about tech. But no it is an impressive display of the evaporating minds of these lost souls.

    Firefox? What is Firefox?

    1. cryohellinc said on August 12, 2020 at 8:55 am
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      I automatically assume that starts with “lol” is written by a pleb. Kiddie go back to COD.

  4. Thaumiel said on August 11, 2020 at 9:17 pm
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    Disappointing, as usual, but everybody had ample time to see this coming. Perhaps I may be wrong, it is merely my opinion, but I believe they would have been better off keeping politics and social agendas out of their browser and Foundation – which is, barring Thunderbird, their only noteworthy product – and have their achievements speak for themselves. This blogpost mentions community, but my impression is they have but entirely ignored and muted their users when in comes to the development of Firefox and questionable changes to it. Could it be some people such as me thought too well of it in the long gone past, as an example of an open, free browser? Will it rise from its ashes once Moz is gone, freed from this corporate rubbish? Time will tell.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 9:28 pm
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      @Thaumiel

      > Could it be some people such as me thought too well of it in the long gone past, as an example of an open, free browser? Will it rise from its ashes once Moz is gone, freed from this corporate rubbish? Time will tell.

      Realistically, who is supposed to pick this up? Would have to be someone big because maintaining a browser engine is expensive. And those who might otherwise be interested could just pick up Chromium and create their own variant of it (like Microsoft did recently), I don’t see it happening.

      The competitor also being open source doesn’t make things easier for the Mozilla codebase.

      1. Thaumiel said on August 11, 2020 at 10:02 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart
        It is indeed a sisyphean endeavour. One can wish, I guess.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 10:37 pm
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        @Thaumiel

        As you already know from our prior exchange, I don’t think Mozilla surviving or not plays much of a role. Their 5% worldwide market share amounts to nothing more than a mild nuisance to Google anyway, even if they were actually opposing them. But they don’t, even back in the day when they had a much bigger market share than they do now, they had a habit of constantly kowtowing before their Google sponsor. If Firefox dies, Google’s vassal exits the game. That’s about it. They were never going to oppose Google, neither in terms of influence nor in terms of willingness.

        The only “happy ending”, if you will, would be someone else (someone unaffiliated with the current Mozilla leadership or even Mozilla itself) taking over and turning it into a real opposition to Google. But for the reasons in my prior comment, I don’t see it happening. Cheers.

      3. I_only_read_the_comments said on August 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm
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        Yes. They learned from Microsoft mistakes of competing with standards in the past (Embrace, Extend, Exterminate). With the early adoption of open source and keeping in with open standards they took a different approach and essentially their strategy is (Embrace, Extend, Ensnare).

      4. Md said on August 11, 2020 at 11:51 pm
        Reply

        Get woke, go broke

      5. Jody Thornton said on August 12, 2020 at 2:33 am
        Reply

        Were they Fired-Fox?
        :)

  5. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 9:24 pm
    Reply

    The result of years of mismanagement, running their main product (Firefox) into the ground. Aping Chrome interface, aping Chrome’s lack of privacy brought them there. Also a loss of focus, concentrating on various side projects nobody cares about according to usage stats. Their costant politicking (anti-fake news etc.), going as far as pushing their opinions on users via notification, doesn’t help, either.

    Instead of taking away user control and lowering user privacy, they should look at restoring the former and enhancing the latter. But this well-intentioned pro-user approach is bound to NOT happen, because the current Mozilla leadership is focused on marketing Firefox to normies. But then again, normies don’t care. They need to cater to the privacy-conscious and power users again, but I assure you that this is exactly what is not going to happen.

    I also believe that Mozilla needs a leadership change (*cough* Mitchell Baker-raising-her-salary-every-year-while-running-this-operation-into-the-ground *cough*) desperately, but as it always goes, employees are being fired, the leadership which has caused this mess stays. They will be leaving last, each one with a track load of money.

    To be clear, the only thing I am sad about is the demise of a formerly great and user-friendly project and legacy over the last decade, I have no sympathy with Firefox or Mozilla in their current state.

    That being said, it might be that Google will once again pour money into Mozilla because they surely won’t let go of their fig leaf which serves them well in keeping antitrust at bay.

    Written with the Brave Browser.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 10:29 pm
      Reply

      EDIT: Seems like I was right in identifying Mitchell Baker as a major actor in Mozilla’s decline, this tweet of a former employee (now fired) tells us as much:

      https://twitter.com/MichalPurzynski/status/1293208596801413122

  6. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 9:26 pm
    Reply

    Didn’t think Mozilla had 250 employees. What are they all doing? Integrating Pocket? Locking away your search engines? Redesigning the URL bar?

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 9:37 pm
      Reply

      @Anonymous

      They had over 1000 employees at the start of 2020. As for what they are all doing, no idea. Developing a browser (even considering leadership, legal, marketing etc.) shouldn’t result in anywhere near that number.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on August 11, 2020 at 10:40 pm
        Reply

        That’s pretty crazy. Brave currently has under 120 staff, Vivaldi under 50. Adding twice (or even triple) that number to maintain a fully fledged browser engine still doesn’t get you to 1000. I guess half that figure is Mozilla’s Inclusion, Diversity and Activism Division?

      2. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 4:50 am
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        @ShintoPlasm

        Not to defend Mozilla (like any legacy organization, they likely have bloat in their workforce), but Brave and Vivaldi have the benefit of being able to reply on Google to supply them with security updates for the engine that powers their browser.

        Mozilla doesn’t have the benefit.

      3. ShintoPlasm said on August 12, 2020 at 9:40 am
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        @Mike W.

        I addressed that point in my comment, actually, and I still think that even half their ordinary workforce should be enough to maintain Gecko et al. It’s more because they’ve spread themselves thin across so many unnecessary initiatives both past and present, instead of focusing on their core product only. Not to mention the frantic rapid-release schedule and the bonkers Agile sprints, which can’t be good for their QA.

      4. Mike W. said on August 13, 2020 at 12:12 am
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        Perhaps. I don’t really have great insight into the structure of Mozilla’s teams so its hard to say for certain. I think its hard to deny Vivaldi and Brave benefit from the security work Microsoft & Google do on Chrome, that Firefox just doesn’t have, but I also think its more than fair to say they have misplaced resources for almost a decade now and have allowed themselves to drift from their core company goals that made them successful in the first place.

        Much like AT&T/Time Warner which is also gutting divisions, legacy company’s that are poorly run can only run for so long before the beasts of capitalism catch up.

      5. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 8:25 pm
        Reply

        “Brave currently has under 120 staff, Vivaldi under 50.”

        They don’t have to do R&D and nearly as much testing and QA. They add minor features which even a lone coder could do, and they don’t have to oversee Chrome’s extension library.

    2. Ayy said on August 12, 2020 at 5:06 am
      Reply

      >What are they all doing?
      writing “diversity and inclusion” blogs to spread the authoritarian marxist ideology that’s corroded the company at all levels, all while they lose money and users year over year #GetWokeGoBroke

  7. J Tripper said on August 11, 2020 at 9:38 pm
    Reply

    Sound like a possible end game for Firefox, only a matter of time with the continued loss of market share like a bleeding wound, endless coping of Google. Following all Google’s footsteps, making pointless and ignorant UI and internal changes despite its user base objections. Their going to ride the doomed train for as long as they have google money and they just as Netscape and others its bye bye bye. Been a great run.

  8. computer said no said on August 11, 2020 at 9:58 pm
    Reply

    Why would losing market share be of concern considering other browsers like brave and vivaldi etc still carry on.

    is the firefox end user really going to be concerned about employee loss considering the end user would probably not even notice.

    Just out of curiousity what is the marketshare of brave and vivaldi and safari….?…bet it is not even in double figures so why should firefox worry.

    If ford cut its workforce by 30% would its cars suddenly not function correctly..?

    Lot of fuss over nothing.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 10:16 pm
      Reply

      @computer said no

      > Why would losing market share be of concern considering other browsers like brave and vivaldi etc still carry on.

      It’s a concern because Mozilla maintains a separate browser engine (Gecko), while the other browsers you mentioned (Brave & Vivaldi) use Blink. So when web developers test their websites against Chrome, it will also work in other Chromium-based browsers. However, Firefox requires separate testing. With its market share declining, it will become more and more irrelevant in testing procedures, which results in lowered web compatibility. This again drives users away, it’s a death spiral.

      Brave & Vivaldi also save a considerable amount of money by using the Chromium codebase, their companies would have to be significantly bigger and development would be significantly more expensive if they had to maintain the base browser engine all by themselves. A much smaller user base suffices to sustain them because having access to the Chromium codebase alleviates the financial burden.

      > Just out of curiousity what is the marketshare of brave and vivaldi and safari….?…bet it is not even in double figures so why should firefox worry.

      Safari’s market share is much bigger than that of Firefox, 17% worldwide, give or take (see link below). Firefox sits at around 5% worldwide (see link below). As for why Brave & Vivaldi don’t need huge market share figures, the above applies.

      https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

      1. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 2:57 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        Do Brave, Vivaldi etc fall under the Chrome market share since they use the Chrome codebase? So, is Chrome 66% Really (just an example) Google Chrome 60, Brave 5, Vivaldi 1 (total 66) ?

      2. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 8:53 am
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        @Anonymous

        Hard to say. Vivaldi and Brave both use Chrome’s user agent for web compatibility reasons, so they would show up as Chrome and be counted as such. There are no precise figures for either Vivaldi or Brave, we can only speculate.

      3. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 1:21 pm
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        @ Iron Heart

        The last count I saw for Vivaldi in terms of users is that they had roughly 1.5 Million users. The founder/CEO mentioned that number in an April 2020 article when discussing them adding tracking protection to the browser. Vivaldi has said they need 5 Million browsers to be profitable, so I worry that they could be the next browser in trouble unless von Tetzchner has more money in the bank from Opera than we know about.

        Eich has been open on Twitter that as of July, Brave is up to 16.5 Million users. How that number is split between mobile and desktop users, I don’t know, but it seems like they are growing at a very solid pace. While I am skeptical that BAT is ever going to take off, it feels like Brave is on the most stable financial ground right now of all the 3rd party browsers.

      4. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 4:08 pm
        Reply

        @Mike W

        Interesting figures, I wasn’t aware of the fact that the gap between Vivaldi was that large, I thought the user base numbers to be closer than this. Vivaldi being troubled would be a shame, it’s a project that listens to the ideas of their users and is one of the last customizable browsers left. I get the appeal to those who prioritize customizability. Though it seems to me that this market is not very large, and Vivaldi’s growth might also be hampered by the continued existence of Firefox (which can still be customized with userChrome.css, though that’s a plain PITA).

        Brave profits from being one of the go-to solutions for adblocking on mobile, I assume. Believe it or not, there are people who don’t know what a browser extension is, so they see “Brave – The Adblocking Browser” or similar and immediately install it. Which is not a bad thing in this case, though, Brave is one of the most privacy-respecting browsers out there.
        You also have to admit that Brave is a pretty barebones, no nonsense browser apart from Brave Rewards (which are turned off by default), so people who like the simplicity of the Chrome interface and are searching for a drop-in replacement will be drawn to it. Vivaldi is not for the average user in terms of the multitude of options it offers, it requires some commitment. That being said, count me among the people who prefer simplicity for the sake of efficiency.

      5. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 11:57 pm
        Reply

        @ Iron Heart

        Yeah, I want to make clear I have no inside knowledge on if Vivaldi is in “trouble” financially, just that by everything I have been able to find they are not yet profitable. I doubt the pandemic has done them any favors in terms of getting companies to get on board via Speed Dials or Bookmarks. It also probably doesn’t help that Vivaldi has been quite clear they take no money from Google, including Google search revenue. That means that if you use DDG in Vivaldi, Vivaldi gets paid, but if you change the default search engine to Google, they do not.

        I suspect the recent move towards creating a privacy-friendly search engine “whitelist” for their ad/tracker blocker is an attempt to try and increase revenue from search partners. Still, if the economy continues to be slow to recover globally and in the EU & Asia where Vivaldi is most popular, I can’t help but worry about them.

        As I said, maybe Jon has a secret goldmine of money from Opera where he can float the browser for a long, long time, but the fact that the browser is so dependent on the financial health of one guy is concerning. If he makes bad financial decisions, it likely means the immediate death of Vivaldi. Still, the alternative is being beholden to outside investors and VC’s which has obvious downsides.

        As for Brave, I am a fan. They have their detractors, but setting aside Eich’s personal beliefs I think they have proven they are one of the better actors in a world filled with bad ones. Brave isn’t perfect, but nor is/was Firefox, Edge, Safari, Chrome, etc. I still think if you can get past all the Bitcoin nonsense, that Brave is probably the best alternative to Firefox users who are concerned about privacy. If those FF users want customization, I don’t know how Vivaldi can be beat.

    2. Yuliya said on August 11, 2020 at 10:22 pm
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      Beacuse a website working in Chrom* is guaranteed to perform the same in Vivaldi/Brave/Edge/Opera etc.

      Mozilla’s got its own engine, which they did not bother to update for half a decade now..? Their own claims of speed gains have been proven to be nothing but marketing. Their own benchmark proves it as well.

      Now do you expect any webdev to care about your single digit market share snowflake, which not only underperforms but it is also subpar in terms of security? Add the fact that more and more people are starting to see the reality behind, which is the corrupt mozilla who will literally sell their userbase to some random third party, no one ever heard of before, feeding you constant lies about how you should trust them and how all your data is in good hands with no potential back tracing; all those people are now are using objectively better alternatives. Develop with Chrom* in mind. It will work for anyone else. Done.

  9. Yuliya said on August 11, 2020 at 10:07 pm
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    2022 will be a year where mozilla will no longer exist. You might find it in some history books, describing “the best example on how to tank your business in the least amount of time possible” – it’s my own quote, I’ve quoted myself.

  10. allen said on August 11, 2020 at 10:09 pm
    Reply

    New products? They should have taken care of the old products, Firefox specifically. So intent on grabbing new users, they failed to satisfy longtime users. They made it clear they weren’t listening to us, so we found new pastures.

  11. Thaumiel said on August 11, 2020 at 10:10 pm
    Reply

    https://twitter.com/MichalPurzynski/status/1293220570885062657
    >They killed entire threat management team. Mozilla is now without detection and incident response.
    Relevant.

    1. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 4:53 am
      Reply

      This is the news that scares me most and likely means that unless Mozilla can supply users with alternative information or a plan, makes me likely to uninstall the browser on all of my machines. I’m not exactly thrilled with relying primarily on Brave & Edge as my main browsers, but if Mozilla can’t guarantee (within reason) that the browser isn’t going to become a security pit, I see no reason to continue to trust it.

    2. Clairvaux said on August 12, 2020 at 5:44 pm
      Reply

      In that very same thread where someone from the Mozilla team announces their firing, other companies are piling up on them to try and recruit them. Says a lady from Amazon :

      “If you’re part of the @mozilla layoffs, and you’re looking for a home at @awscloud, i’d love to help. if security/ec2 aren’t your jam, happy to help intro you to other folks.”

      I’m happy for them (in a way), and sad for us.

  12. Joe said on August 11, 2020 at 10:29 pm
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    Finally, this morning, I decided to quit Firefox. Every update on every machine caused hangs, and it was addons, but it was different addons at different updates or on different machines. I try not to use many addons, just a few commonly-used ones.

    I have been weaning myself away from tree-style tab, which has always been my biggest reason to stay. I do like their purported philosophy, but I don’t see them as that different from MS or Google anymore.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 11, 2020 at 10:42 pm
      Reply

      @Joe

      To which browser did you switch? Myself leaving Firefox resulted in this setup, might be useful to you if you want to enhance your privacy:

      https://www.ghacks.net/2020/07/05/behave-for-chrome-and-firefox-warns-you-of-port-scans-and-local-attacks/#comment-4467393

    2. Max said on August 12, 2020 at 12:20 am
      Reply

      Tree-style tab is still available in Pale Moon.

    3. UsedFirefoxFor12Years said on August 12, 2020 at 2:40 pm
      Reply

      Vivaldi has tree style tabs IIRC.

  13. Skynet said on August 11, 2020 at 10:31 pm
    Reply

    I didn’t read anything about the totally incompetent Baker taking a pay cut never mind being one of the 250. Why they hired a lawyer to run thing I don’t know but guessing it’s to do with the sjw’s.

    Blaming covid is nonsense, years of dumbing down and ignoring users is the problem.

    1. kk said on August 11, 2020 at 11:28 pm
      Reply

      Im betting the bad apples got to stay, the minority implicated in the worst decisions along the way. The UI and marketing team will be untouched too no doubt.

      But those that are left surely know they’re next unless they take preemtive measures, the execs will drain the last drops like vampires then pawn off the assets.

  14. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 10:38 pm
    Reply

    lay off 750 instead of just 250, or even better lay off everyone, the company will be more profitable then.

    1. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 11:20 pm
      Reply

      Ha, that might actually work. Somebody should tip Baker!

  15. dmacleo said on August 11, 2020 at 10:48 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla is a technical powerhouse of the internet activist movement
    *****************************************************************************
    and there you have it….

  16. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 10:53 pm
    Reply

    The Mozilla CEO runs the company into the ground. Unfortunately she is in total control of both the corporation and the foundation. There’s no way she will give the keys away.

    Judging from the twitter messages, the 250 layoffs affect mostly highly-paid engineers like the Servo and threat management team.

    It seems Baker hates engineers and wants to have only marketing people and lawyers running the company. She also seems to hate FF and only uses the revenue to push her own absurd and destructive agenda.

    She will rather fire 500 more people than admit that she’s on the wrong path, and this is exactly what will happen. She wants to milk the company as long as she can.

    All attempts to diversify will fail, because you can’t make money with a browser except with search. Google will drastically cut the provision rate. Edge and Brave will make Firefox lose 5-10 million users every month during this year, and the company will probably start to fall apart by the end of the year already. If the monthly users go down to 100 million by the end of the year due to MS pushing Edge, how can Mozilla continue to operate? They can’t.

    It’s time for an orchestrated open-source community fork of FF to show mozilla that they have to listen to their users.

    1. Skynet said on August 12, 2020 at 1:07 am
      Reply

      Her wages have gone up each year whilst their user base has decreased each year. However it’s not uncommon for the high ups to be rewarded for failure.

      The only hope they have is with all the antitrust stuff going on that Google decides that it is in their best interests to keep them around so give them more than their market share warrants. If they don’t then I’d imagine it will be another round of layoffs. But how many more can they lose and keep development going?

      1. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 1:31 pm
        Reply

        The antitrust thing has been thrown around, but I don’t see that being much of a reason for Google to “give” Mozilla a sweetheart deal on search revenues. In all of the Google talk, none of it seems centered around Chrome/Chromium being the dominant browser engine. It seems more focused on Google having such dominant market position in online video (YouTube) and search.

        I may be wrong, but I’m increasingly skeptical that Google is going to offer Mozilla any sort of sweetheart deal to ensure their survival. Firefox just does not have the user base any longer to warrant that sort of investment. I hate sounding alarmist, but the further from this news I get, the more convinced I am that Firefox is not long for this world unless Google screws up massively with Chrome/Chromium or your average consumer suddenly cares about browser engine diversity.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 13, 2020 at 7:10 am
        Reply

        @Mike W.

        See, Google won’t let go of their fig leaf easily despite it being largely irrelevant nowadays:

        https://www.zdnet.com/article/sources-mozilla-expected-to-extend-its-google-search-deal/

      3. Iron Heart said on August 13, 2020 at 7:11 am
        Reply

        @Martin Brinkmann

        This might be worth a separate article.

      4. Mike W. said on August 13, 2020 at 1:46 pm
        Reply

        I’m admittedly a little surprised. While Firefox still has a large enough user base to warrant a search deal (I mean, come on, Opera has like 5 users left and still has a Google search deal), I thought it would be a lower dollar figure. I guess Mozilla really is benefiting from Googles (deserved) paranoia around anti-trust concerns in the browser world.

      5. Iron Heart said on August 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm
        Reply

        @Mike W.

        Yeah, the continued existence of Mozilla surely helps Google in fending off antitrust allegations, but this is not all there is to it. You see, any good dictator who wants to consolidate his power needs to offer those who disagree with his rule some kind of opposition. However, this opposition ought not to be real, in this case it will be fought to the death by the dictator. The kind of opposition the dictator needs is one that opposes him in name only, publicly denouncing him even, while at the same time supporting all of his stuff by doing the same thing in disguise, thereby supporting the dictator’s ultimate goals.

        Very basic Machiavelli stuff right there. Now let’s apply this to Firefox:

        – Strengthens the Google search monopoly by virtue of making Google the default.
        – And more importantly, its allows and facilitates tracking by default, the 1% or so of users who are able to change this with about:config don’t matter in the end.
        – They are following the same design choices (primary example: cracking down on the URL) and support every web standard Google crafts.

        How is this an opposition? If the Google boss says to the Mozilla CEO: “Jump!”, the Mozilla CEO only asks: “How high?”

        Recent moves of Mozilla like locking away about:config in Firefox or Android, or even hardcoding a Google Analytics tracker into Firefox Mobile (which again shows that they absolutely don’t have any problem with Google tracking) is absolutely disgusting. I don’t see them opposing Google at the W3C either, Google gets its way while Mozilla applauds to this. Mozilla is controlled opposition, an absolute scam, if you ask me. They are disregarding user rights just as much as Google does, and they will again be instrumental in pushing massive internet censorship through (free and open web my ass, this is all meaningless lip service).

        Hence why it is no wonder that I personally an honest (or let’s say less problematic) Chromium-based browser over the controlled opposition that is not acting against Google’s interest anyway – of course I am getting attacked for this, the official narrative (which the FF fans are all too eager to adopt) is that Mozilla is a heroic anti-Google fighter by virtue of using a different engine, which is absolute nonsense, because even though they technically have a different engine, they are still implementing whatever web technology Google demands, and thus cease to be anti-Google.

        If I had to speculate which browser is hated most by Google, I’d say:

        – Safari (Apple opposes or outright refuses to implement some of Google’s web app technology, since this threatens their own library which generates big $$$)
        – Brave (Attacks Google’s core business by implementing ads within their own network, which is not third party tracking-based)
        – More minor projects like Pale Moon or Falkon, simply because Google has no control over them.
        – Edge to some degree, since it is in a good position to gain market share and pushes Bing as their default. However, Google is much less annoyed by Edge compared to the others above, because most people will be switching the search engine to Google anyway.

        Of course they’d prefer you using Chrome first and foremost, but people should really drop the notion that using Firefox is totally hurting Google – it doesn’t, Mozilla is their paid lapdog and hates user rights just as much as they do, going by their actions. It’s also hilariously naive to claim that a 5% browser can be a real annoyance to Google in the first place. If Firefox ceased to exist tomorrow and all Firefox users hypothetically switched to Chrome, its market share would jump from 70% to about 75%, what gives? They would do the same thing as before, it’s not like Firefox could stop it with a market share like that. They are kept alive with that low market share however, because that makes the state antitrust people happy and because they are a useful token opposition that prevents real alternatives from rising.

  17. ShintoPlasm said on August 11, 2020 at 11:04 pm
    Reply

    “[T]he internet activist movement”… FFS, you’re a browser company, no wonder you’re going down the drain…

    1. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 2:51 am
      Reply

      @ShintoPlasm

      If you read between the lines, you’ll find that they are basically telling us that browser-generated revenue is a dead end. This is why they aim to diversify their revenue streams with projects unrelated to Firefox. At first, they will be claiming that this is done to help fund Firefox development, but I suspect they are just trying to get their dwindling user base to subscribe to as many paid services as possible, exploiting what is left of their brand recognition. Then, since Firefox development is expensive and won’t help them in building up long-term revenue, I expect them to either completely dump it or to rebase it on Chromium, thereby reducing development costs drastically. As their excuse, they will be citing increasing Blink dominance.

      As for those privacy guides, user.js files (like ghacks-user.js or similar), extension guides, users helping each other out with tweaks (tinkerers in general)… I expect Mozilla to orchestrate a red wedding-scale betrayal in the future, leaving them totally stunned. But if you think that I will be pontificating and chanting “I told you so!”, you’d be wrong – this will be a sad day for internet privacy, because despite its horrible defaults, Firefox can, to this day, be modded into something worthwhile (notwithstanding whether or not one sees much point in that, I don’t). Mozilla dreams of being an internet activist / paid services hybrid (sometimes they don’t even bother creating those services themselves, but rather just lend their brand, as was the case with Mullvad VPN), free of the burden of Firefox development.

      They literally fired the security team and the Servo team (Servo was meant to bring significant speed and rendering improvements to Gecko), they have cut short (euphemism for “eliminated”) on both current day security as well as Firefox’s technical future. This, in my eyes, points to them either doing away with it completely in the mid-term or going down the Chromium route Opera-style, in this case they’ll use “Firefox” as a mere vessel for their paid services.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on August 12, 2020 at 9:45 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        A year or two ago, I would have disagreed with some of your points. Today, I am unable to do so anymore. I saw the tweets about which teams they cut, and it’s horrifying from a security perspective. As you said, it’s a very sad day indeed.

        :(

  18. basicuser said on August 12, 2020 at 12:24 am
    Reply

    Have no idea why the employee purge except maybe really bad management. Despite Mozilla’s internal problems, one way or another Google will ensure Mozilla/Firefox continues to exist as it’s paid-for pet browser in order to keep the monopoly police off it’s back. And that’s the only reason Firefox still exists as is.

    1. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 5:13 am
      Reply

      Do regulators even care that Firefox has a different engine than Chrome? I suspect that Google would argue that even if Firefox vanishes, that Safari and Edge (Chredge) have enough market share and big enough corporate backing behind them to serve as legitimate competition to Chrome.

      Granted Edge now has the Chromium engine powering it, but considering many elected officials still struggle to differentiate Twitter & Facebook, I can’t imagine them being able capable of figuring out Chrome & Edge have the same engine behind them.

  19. computer said no said on August 12, 2020 at 12:40 am
    Reply

    Let mozilla sink if it wishes to.
    Give the firefox code to the global open source movement and be done with it.

    It is sad to see mozilla destroy this once great customisable browser and a large majority of the original staff have long gone.

    Political affiliations and personal beliefs should have no part in the firefox development and unfortunately it seems bad management is sinking this once great browser.

    Pale moon is currently the only browser which carries the old spirit of firefox onwards and this is what we need,more forks and more open source community involvment.

  20. 4Netscape said on August 12, 2020 at 12:55 am
    Reply

    Mozilla,
    I just would want you to re acquire the Netscape name ( purchasing the right from AOL) and make a fantastic web browser.
    I really enjoy the email client you provide, thunderbird
    Wish you would offer a new vision that eclipses all your competitors.

  21. Clairvaux said on August 12, 2020 at 1:21 am
    Reply

    I’ve seldom read such a piece of vacuous mumbo-jumbo. If you took away the word Internet, and you did not know what Mozilla was trading in, there wouldn’t be any way to know. They could as well be selling dairy products.

    The one thing they do say (as if we needed any confirmation) is that they are a political outfit dedicated to spreading left-wing ideology : “To start, that means products that mitigate harms.”

    In a normal world, this would mean they are selling bandages, or something like that. But in the crazy world we live right now, thanks in part to Mozilla, “harm” is a code word, meaning : anything that the new left, the woke brigade objects to.

    The word “diverse” is right there in the second sentence, long before you can say “browser” — and they won’t even stoop to writing the word.

    Needless to say, the “product” is mixed with “advocacy” — you could be excused to think that the main product is actually the advocacy ; they are “activists”, and they “feel like a different balance should exist between social and public benefit and private profit”.

    Right at the moment they lay off 250 people.

    It’s almost comical how they make obvious the hypocrisy of their ideology. Since we’re morally superior to the lot of you, we can kick out a quarter of our workforce, and still explain how horrible other companies are, with all their profits and disgusting money.

    I’m quite fine with Vivaldi, thank you, explaining they need to make money, and how they do it. And offering a terrific browser, which is everything Firefox isn’t anymore.

    1. Stan said on August 12, 2020 at 8:08 am
      Reply

      Well said, I lurked the last two MozFests, days of “vacuous mumbo-jumbo” workshops, the word Firefox was barely, if ever, mentioned.

    2. Herman Cost said on August 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm
      Reply

      I could not agree more.

  22. Miskkie said on August 12, 2020 at 2:36 am
    Reply

    Activism didn’t work out for a browser company? Odd.

    1. UsedFirefoxFor12Years said on August 12, 2020 at 2:43 pm
      Reply

      It must have worked. After all, this post reaffirms their commitment to activist causes.

  23. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 3:03 am
    Reply

    Does this affect Thunderbird? Stopped using Firefox a couple years ago, but still use Thunderbird.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 8:36 am
      Reply

      @Anonymous

      Thunderbird heavily relies on Mozilla continuing the Gecko engine (which TB also uses), so yeah. Thunderbird can’t stem this alone, developing Gecko is extremely expensive.

      1. Clairvaux said on August 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm
        Reply

        Unfortunately, this is another potentially negative consequence of Mozilla’s fecklessness. Losing Firefox is a sorry outcome, but there are (a few) alternatives.

        Causing the demise of Thunderbird would be another matter. There aren’t that many independent email clients out there, and none of them is open source as far as I know.

        Not that Thunderbird is a marvel. Each time I’ve attempted to use it, I’ve been appalled by the extremely quirky and obsolete user interface. It should have been completely overhauled a long time ago.

  24. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 3:39 am
    Reply

    “But to enable these changes, we must shift our collective mindset from a place of defending, protecting, sometimes even huddling up and trying to keep a piece of what we love to one that is proactive, curious, and engaged with people out in the world.”

    Translation;
    I will crush resistance from Firefox loyalists.

  25. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 5:36 am
    Reply

    *The end is near* – Homer Simpson GIF

    Back on topic, Mozilla has reportedly “killed” an entire threat and management team…

    https://nitter.net/MichalPurzynski/status/1293220570885062657#m

  26. tobedeleted said on August 12, 2020 at 7:44 am
    Reply

    Good. They destroyed what once was Firefox when it took the torch from Netscape. Soon one to rule them all. Maybe lamemoon wolf-face and paradigm-head comes to the rescue. Only this way n0zilla code might last couple more years on some retired users computers.

  27. Stan said on August 12, 2020 at 7:46 am
    Reply

    Defund the Security Policing!!! Yeah that sounds like Baker’s shtick…

  28. Allwynd said on August 12, 2020 at 7:52 am
    Reply

    You reap what you sow. Mozilla have been ruining Firefox for years, ever since they started working on alpha/beta versions of Fireofx 4 and tried to make it into a Chrome clone.

    Their browser is bloated, ugly and now doesn’t even support the customization (that it used to) to make it less ugly and more personal.

    I loved Firefox between versions 2.0 and 3.6, because back then Chrome did not exist and Firefox was the king of browsers with its thorough customization, powerful add-ons and whatnot. Then Chrome released, stole their thunder, as soon as extensions were added, Firefox completely lost the race.

    I’d feel bad for Mozilla and Firefox if through the years since Chrome’s inception they tried to keep the spirit of Firefox alive and allowed people to personalize it as they wanted, but instead they kept “streamlining” it, removing all they can and the end result is a crippled, functionless and useless Chrome clone.

    So instead I’m happy this is happening and hopefully Firefox will soon die completely. Firefox deserves a death so its painful existence of disgrace can finally end and all the tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists who use it and think it’s the only good browser and everything Chromium-related sucks need to finally be shut up.

    1. SpywareFan said on August 12, 2020 at 8:38 am
      Reply

      I am one of those you call “tinfoil hat” wearers, but there’s no conspiracy theories, Google “The Cancer”™ infected 80% of the web, chromium based browsers are unable to block 1st party tracking (like the omnipresent GA), so yes, google chromium sucks (now less than failfox).
      I don’t want every moment of my life been monitored by EvilCorp.
      I don’t want to pay EvilCorp everytime I buy a product or a service.
      We, people who give the right value to our personal informations, are now left without a safe tool to explore and use the web.

      1. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 10:26 am
        Reply

        @SpywareFan

        > Google “The Cancer”™ infected 80% of the web, chromium based browsers are unable to block 1st party tracking (like the omnipresent GA), so yes, google chromium sucks (now less than failfox).

        Inaccurate, friend. Chromium can block 1st party trackers via extensions like uBlock Origin, and Brave’s native adblocker (which is not an extension) can also do it. I am blocking Google Analytics on one website at the moment.

        And as for “cancer”, whether or not we would be better off with Mozilla dominating, considering their actions past and present, is at the very least highly debatable. Them being paid by Google anyway notwithstanding.

        > We, people who give the right value to our personal informations, are now left without a safe tool to explore and use the web.

        Firefox hasn’t been safe for a while now. They have not yet implemented real site isolation and a proper sandbox, despite having had a decade worth of time. This is not even accounting for deliberately included backdoors like Normandy / FF Experiments, where they can basically insert and run whatever code they please in your Firefox setup.

      2. SpywareFan said on August 12, 2020 at 12:41 pm
        Reply

        I’m sorry Iron, but I have the proof (ESET logs) that both uMatrix and uBlock under chromium browsers (Brave, Ungoogled, Vivaldi, etc.) are unable to block FP tracking scripts (CNAME) and the other nasty things invented by “surveillance technicians”, not a problem for me because I have another two layers of protection after the browser. ;)
        For the rest I’m with you, FF has become pure trash with Malware Inside™, it deserves no attention anymore.

      3. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 3:55 pm
        Reply

        @SpywareFan

        > block FP tracking scripts (CNAME)

        This is a very special form of first party tracker, though. It is basically a third party tracker disguised as a first party one, I quote from a very good article published on medium.com:

        “A suitable name for this method would be CNAME Cloaking, and it is used to disguise a third-party tracker as first-party tracker. In this case, they are also purposely obfuscating this behind a random subdomain, with a CNAME to a generic and unbranded domain.”

        source: https://medium.com/nextdns/cname-cloaking-the-dangerous-disguise-of-third-party-trackers-195205dc522a

        Now, this is NOT your typical first party tracker. Chromium can defend itself against non-hidden (first party) trackers, that should account for 99% of all trackers. CNAME uncloaking is a very obscure method of tracking, if you are worrying about that, you should also look at preventing tracking via History API or eTags, because even they are more prevalent than this.

        Chromium is currently lacking a certain API which could be used for CNAME uncloaking, that being said, native adblockers like the one in Brave are not under the restrictions of extension APIs (Brave Shields is not implemented as an extension), therefore I am optimistic that something will be done about this soon. Am I worried, though? No, it’s an obscure form of tracking, and defenses against it so far tend to break websites more often than not, so even the solution in Firefox is very theoretical in nature.

        That being said, a Pi-Hole or HOSTS file will solve this minor problem for you anyway, independent of browser choice.

      4. UsedFirefoxFor12Years said on August 13, 2020 at 3:33 pm
        Reply

        If someone is inspired to check out Pi-hole, AdGuard Home is better than Pi-hole as a DNS sinkhole and I recommend using it instead. Both are open source.

      5. Anonymous said on August 14, 2020 at 5:12 pm
        Reply

        @SpywareFan

        Well, Brave announced in their roadmap that they will support CNAME filtering in the next months, they added it couple weeks ago. so it would make them the only and first Chromium browser to support it. Obviously thanks to google I am sure they will not have a free time to just hook 3 lines of codes and make it work, but they apparently will make it happen since they see it’s necessary feature. Seems like Brave native adblocker is a good thing since it wouldn’t be affected by manifest v3 or any Google decision.

        Firefox can allow to happen the CNAME filtering but yeah, it is full of telemetry and BS and spamming users with push notification ideologies to try to control people even outside the internet and who can use and take advantage of the internet. I will always wonder how people don’t see it but still want to support a company like that. I wonder how many users they lost because of the latest woke messages they pushed on people.

      6. SpywareFan said on August 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm
        Reply

        Thanks for the useful info ;) , unfortunately Brave had (has?) some issues that I’m unable to fix/circumvent: the “disable developer mode extensions” and the continuous phoning home for updates and usage statistics. I know that other phoning home is for downloading block lists, and that is OK, but I need a browser that make no connections at startup in order to detect eventual malware presence.

        FF was the perfect browser for everyone, at least until the actual management put it’s dirty hands in the code.

      7. Iron Heart said on August 17, 2020 at 7:09 am
        Reply

        @SpywareFan

        I vaguely remember that we had a discussion about the following three processes Brave ran even when Brave Rewards was disabled:

        – Brave Rewards
        – Bat Ledger Service
        – Bat Ads Service

        That shouldn’t happen while Brave Rewards is turned off, and it was a bug. I have good news for you in that regard, this has been fixed in version 1.12 (the current version):

        https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/issues/9526

        > continuous phoning home for updates and usage statistics.

        Usage statistics / telemetry can be turned off under brave://settings/privacy … Same for Google SafeBrowsing, this can also be turned off there. When Brave checks updates, it transmits the following information to the update server, which I don’t think are sensitive:

        – Your Brave version number, in order to to check whether or not an update is necessary at all.
        – Your type of operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux), so that the correct update package is delivered to you, i.e. Windows users should not receive Brave for Linux or vice versa.

        This can also be turned off, but not within the browser itself:

        https://www.ghacks.net/2020/08/15/brave-introduces-new-sync-functionality-in-android-and-desktop-browser/#comment-4470838

        Obligatory hint though that turning off updates is a bad idea for security reasons.

        > I know that other phoning home is for downloading block lists, and that is OK, but I need a browser that make no connections at startup in order to detect eventual malware presence.

        In case of the rulesets, Brave is only fetching the rules multiple times per day, there is no indication that anything if uploaded, it is just a timed ping and it’s pure downloading from there. I do have to wonder though; if you think this is problematic, you couldn’t use uBlock Origin or HTTPS Everywhere either, because they too are fetching their rule updates from somewhere. The only extension that updates its resources locally is Decentraleyes (or its fork LocalCDN), but even then, in order to update the extension and thus its resources, you’d have to fetch it from the Chrome Web Store (same for AMO in Firefox) once.

        > but I need a browser that make no connections at startup in order to detect eventual malware presence.

        Hm, this will be hard to achieve. Ungoogled Chromium should match this criterion of “not establishing any connection at all”, ironically this is why I dropped it some time ago, because updating the browser itself and the extensions within in manually all the time became too annoying to me, I am glad(!) that Brave establishes connections for extension updates and application updates, those are beneficial to me. Other than Ungoogled Chromium, perhaps Pale Moon or Basilisk can be modded with about:config in a manner that they don’t establish any connection anymore, this is quite possible.

        So yeah, as far as Brave goes, in my personal setup I’ve turned telemetry and SafeBrowsing off, and with the other connections it establishes (checking for application updates, checking for extension updates, fetching rule updates) I don’t have a problem, even consider them beneficial. It used to run those Brave Rewards processes even when Brave Rewards was off, which was suboptimal indeed, but this bug is fixed now.

  29. SpywareFan said on August 12, 2020 at 8:14 am
    Reply

    CEO Mitchell Baker (Frau Blücher) & Friends are the only ones that should be fired.
    “Multi-product internet organization”? “New mindset”? “Recognizing that the old model where everything was free has consequences”, yes, for sure: Mozilla domains added in the firewall blocklist! :P

  30. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 8:48 am
    Reply

    If I would still have hope for the community, I would write an open letter to Mozilla with the following content:

    – Rebrand the foundation, so that no one associates their dubious polital work with Firefox
    – Keep the foundation and corporation 100% separated. No one from the foundation should have anything to do with the corporation. This includes separating the offices.
    – Fire the entire leadership of the corporation, hire an external CEO who cleans up the company
    – Let go of 250 more employees, mostly marketing and UX designers
    – Switch to Blink Engine
    – Stop putting more energy than necessary into mobile. Mobile has been lost.
    – Take the remaining 500 employees and focus on the core browser, making it as customizable and user-friendly as possible
    – Aim for keeping the company stable at 500 employees, wich means stopping unnecessary expenses like travelling, or redundant office rents
    – Stop everything that doesn’t help creating a better browser, including VR, VPN, Pocket, Email Aliases, etc. – it’s a losing battle
    – Work together with Brave in monetizing a new privacy-preserving ad-system

    1. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 1:40 pm
      Reply

      One nitpick. Firefox can’t “give up on mobile” as mobile is essential for the majority of today’s web users. Most people want the ability to sync across devices and store passwords once and just have it work across platforms. It’s probably one of the primary reasons that Chrome is so dominant on Android. I would argue that part of the reason Firefox is in the shape it is in today is because they ignored how terrible their Android browser was for YEARS and eventually all but the hardest of the die-hard Mozilla fans fled to Chrome or its alternatives.

      Mobile search is also what Google is clearly prioritizing, so Mozilla pulling out of the mobile game would likely lead to them getting even LESS revenue from Google.

      1. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 3:41 pm
        Reply

        @Mike

        Yeah. It shouldn’t be too difficult to create a webkit overlay on iOS and a chromium overlay on Android. As long as sync works and the UI is consistent, that’s all thats needed for mobile. (As well as extension support on Android).

        You can do the above with 10-20 employees.

        Brave manages to keep up a chromium fork with 100 employees, and most of them work on creating a new monetization system, so they probably only have <50 working on the browser itself.

        With 500 employees mozilla could innovate and become a serious alternative for everyone who takes freedom and privacy seriously, but not with the current parasitic leadership.

      2. Mike W. said on August 13, 2020 at 12:05 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        I think the only clear path for Firefox to rebound is to eventually abandon Gecko. I hate saying that because a duopoly of Chromium & Webkit is scary, but Firefox probably cannot maintain their own engine and build-out better mobile offerings if they have to devote considerable financial resources and time to ensuring the Firefox engine stays within spitting distance of Chromium in performance & security.

        That answer is likely to scare hardcore Firefox users, but I’m not sure an alternative path exists for them in their current circumstance. Either way, the leadership group at Firefox has been a rudderless ship for a long time now, especially since they pushed Eich out. I’m not defending his views, but the fact that Brave is by all accounts on strong financial footing and growing and Firefox is sinking seems to indicate that Mozilla’s brain trust is just lost on finding a path back to financial success.

  31. toni said on August 12, 2020 at 9:23 am
    Reply

    i really don’t care much what ceo (and other wannabe managers) plays at top…as long as i have a “decent” browser. and for a long long time i have firefox (netscape in 90’s). so, if the management is so keen to crush everything good in firefox…so be it. i know there will be some people who go on their own and start to develop a new browser. like brave, vivaldi…but i really don’t want to see everything connected to google. damn…i know i cannot simply evade that big brother, but i just don’t want to have fingers and eyes all over. these news might not be so grim…but, let us wait to see. for time beeing…firefox is still the main browser here.

  32. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 9:42 am
    Reply

    On the bright side: the fired 250 will now have loads of extra time to dilate.

    1. vghh said on August 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm
      Reply

      10/10 comment

  33. ShintoPlasm said on August 12, 2020 at 9:58 am
    Reply

    Tor Browser users should be very worried right now…

    1. Yuliya said on August 12, 2020 at 2:31 pm
      Reply

      The TOR developers better start woking on a TBB based on Chromium. It can be done, it’s already been done, so why not make it the default TBB already? That being said, TBB and TOR are different things, and TOR works just fine without TBB-firefox.

      The “it’s too much work” argument is easily refuted by looking back at the crap mozilla gave them with “quantum”, where nothing worked and TBB stable was basically broken for half a year. This is nothing but postponing the inevitable while potentially having to deal with yeat another “quantum” situation befor being forced to adopt Chromium.

      1. Clairvaux said on August 12, 2020 at 5:33 pm
        Reply

        Very good point. Consequences for Thunderbird are bad enough, but what about Tor ? We need Tor. Everybody needs Tor.

        Hell, the worldwide spycraft corporation needs Tor ! CIA, GRU and MI6 officers need Tor ! So the good news is that, in all likeliness, Something Will Be Done if the worst comes to the worst…

  34. thebrowser said on August 12, 2020 at 12:27 pm
    Reply

    Meanwhile the CEO is making $2,458,350 a year (as of 2018), a salary that has been increasing exponentially.

    https://assets.mozilla.net/annualreport/2018/mozilla-2018-form-990.pdf

    1. Clairvaux said on August 12, 2020 at 5:28 pm
      Reply

      “Non-profit”. “The community”. “Love and embrace”.

    2. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 6:49 pm
      Reply

      Just imagine what she would have earned if the company was actually successful led instead of poorly led!

  35. Anonymous said on August 12, 2020 at 3:21 pm
    Reply

    Just base Firefox on Chromium and use the privacy angle to market it. It could basically be the same as Brave but minus the unnecessary crypto push.

  36. Qeirdo said on August 12, 2020 at 3:40 pm
    Reply

    Our business is going down the drain, our web browser is ancient garbage used only by stubborn men over 60. But hey, it could be worse: at least we’re not homophobic!

  37. Slim said on August 12, 2020 at 5:12 pm
    Reply

    It will be sad if Mozilla goes away. There will be no one with the courage to stand up to the likes of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

    If Mozilla goes away, expect more closed-source proprietary web technologies designed to profit over the collection and dissemination of everyone’s private data. The free internet, as we know it, will be a thing of the past.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 5:32 pm
      Reply

      @slim

      > It will be sad if Mozilla goes away. There will be no one with the courage to stand up to the likes of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

      Stand up to whom? Mozilla is being funded by Google, and has behaved accordingly ever since. Don’t believe every ferry tale which you are being served.

      > If Mozilla goes away, expect more closed-source proprietary web technologies designed to profit over the collection and dissemination of everyone’s private data.

      You mean like those proprietary DRM blackboxes Firefox ships with, that can be used for fingerprinting you?

      https://old.reddit.com/r/netsec/comments/hnq044/reddits_website_uses_drm_for_fingerprinting/

      1. Stan said on August 12, 2020 at 7:38 pm
        Reply

        One can only laugh and bang ones head against the wall!
        She really thinks Firefox users are dumb as a plank.

        https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/voices/coronavirus-internet-online-hate-learning-surveillance-a9616451.html

        “We need dependable security. Our personal information should be shielded from hackers, spies, and strangers, with web traffic flowing securely to and from our banks, doctor’s offices, and businesses”

        So her answer to that is canning Firefox security experts ! ?

      2. Mike W. said on August 12, 2020 at 11:59 pm
        Reply

        To be clear, by all accounts Mozilla just laid off the Mozilla security team, not the Firefox team. It sounds like they are just shifting the Firefox security team over to cover both the browser and Mozilla’s other projects. While that will still likely lead to concerns about burnout, lower staffing, and potential missed bugs, it isn’t anywhere near as concerning as it seemed last night.

      3. Stan said on August 13, 2020 at 12:40 am
        Reply

        “To be clear, by all accounts”

        Uh-huh, Links ?

      4. Mike W. said on August 13, 2020 at 1:36 pm
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        @ Stan

        Here ya go: https://www.cnet.com/news/mozilla-cutting-250-jobs-after-coronavirus-pandemic-cuts-revenue/

        It’s towards the end of the article where they mention the cuts to the security team, but Mozilla’s statement is that no cuts were made to the Firefox security team.

        As I said in my post, still concerning that Mozilla will have less security people on staff, but the initial news coming out made it sound like they were completely gutting security and that doesn’t seem the case.

  38. computer said no said on August 12, 2020 at 5:55 pm
    Reply

    I have been giving vivaldi a test run for the past month or so as a potential replacement for firefox and given the content of this post it would seem prudent to carry on with the replacement.

    Kind of sad to see mozilla kind of for want of another word sinking here.

  39. careful what you wish for said on August 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm
    Reply

    Congrats Google for soon having an absolute monopoly.

  40. empirefall said on August 12, 2020 at 11:28 pm
    Reply

    going through the comments makes me wonder what kind of people are behind them

    1. Iron Heart said on August 12, 2020 at 11:34 pm
      Reply

      Mostly realists.

  41. shuado said on August 13, 2020 at 1:12 am
    Reply

    There is always SeaMonkey as a failsafe (or Pale Moon), but it needs dire help developing, there are only a few developers, so it is progressing at a glacier’s pace.

    Dunno, but if Mozilla will (inevitably) shutdown or switch to be finally a full chrome clone, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird will face the choice to continue develop the Gecko engine on its own .. or join the UXP family of browsers.

  42. Mothy said on August 13, 2020 at 2:51 am
    Reply

    That blog post and reading that the entire threat management team has been sacked really gave me pause about continuing to use Firefox ESR. So just downloaded Ungoogled Chromium and so far really like it (using it now to post this). Seems to use less memory and loads webpages faster. Also like that it can be portable by just downloading/extracting the zip then running chrome.exe. Only big downside is a lack of an easy keyboard shortcut (ex. ALT+B) to get to bookmarks or that when in full screen mode can’t seem to get to them at all (via keyboard or mouse) without exiting full screen. But guessing there are probable work arounds for those. Think this is the beginning of the end of Firefox for me!

  43. Anonymous said on August 13, 2020 at 7:59 am
    Reply

    Something is off with the Google-Mozilla deal in light with the recent lay offs:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/sources-mozilla-expected-to-extend-its-google-search-deal/

    “The new search deal will ensure Google remains the default search engine provider inside the Firefox browser until 2023 at an estimated price tag of around $400 million to $450 million per year.”

    That deal alone seems to allow an average of $400,000 to be allocated to each member of a staff of 1,000. Even allowing for 50% company costs on top of salaries, that means over $260K in average salary would be possible, without any other revenue streams.

    It confirms my idea that Google has a vested interested in keeping mozilla and firefox alive.

    So the corona issue was a lie. MZ does have enough money for years to come, but it seems they are planning for something else: Probably a switch to Chromium, which means Servo isn’t necessary anymore. For a switch to chromium it would be important, in the long-term, to get rid of redundant engineers. When Gecko falls away, Mozilla probably doesn’t even need 500 people and they used corona as an excuse to start this process of change.

    With the Google deal extended despite Google clearly not directly profitting from it, Mozilla has another 3 years to find a long-term solution for their failing product.

  44. Skynet said on August 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm
    Reply

    That’s what I had wondered. Unless I have misunderstood the old deal then they are getting more this time around than last time despite losing 2/3 of their user base. So looks like Google aren’t taking any chances and want to make sure they stick around.

    If they did switch to chromium they would need more like 100 people, many projects run on less. So even more money for the yearly pay rises for the incompetent management.

  45. jan said on August 13, 2020 at 6:32 pm
    Reply

    QUOTE The restructuring will strengthen the companies “ability to build and invest in products and services” according to Baker.UNQUOTE

    Baker does that while getting US$ 200.000 per month on a 4 week month and 40 hours week that is about US$ 21 per minute. Not bad, I make far less!

  46. Peterc said on August 13, 2020 at 7:14 pm
    Reply

    I began using Firefox a lot less when it adopted the Google-Chrome-inspired Australis interface, and I stopped using it almost entirely (except in Tor Browser) when it dropped legacy-extension support. My main small-picture concern is thus not what might happen to Firefox itself but rather to projects that depend on its code, like Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and (especially) Pale Moon. There aren’t a lot of fully featured cross-platform email clients besides Thunderbird, and to my knowledge, Pale Moon is the only browser that still carries on the ethos of pre-Australis Firefox.

    My big-picture concern is a World Wide Web that seems increasingly to be designed by and for the benefit of the GAFAM companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft). I’d like to see Mozilla focus their advocacy efforts on tackling *that* instead of on identity-politics issues.

    Extra Snark:

    I thought Baker’s statement could have come from an upper-level manager at Dilbert’s company. In other words, it seemed like an attempt to obfuscate and divert attention from some major strategic failure or managerial betrayal.

    So Baker earns $2.5 million a year. She lives in Silicon Valley, so half of it probably goes to housing, and she lives in the US, so a quarter of it probably goes to out-of-pocket medical bills. I mean, a gal’s got to live, right? ;-)

    Extra Non-Snark:

    Ages ago, when Apple looked like it might go under, Microsoft bought what I think was 5% stake in the company to (successfully) shore it up. That was thought to be, in part, an effort to preserve a semblance of competition in order to avert antitrust scrutiny. I have no idea whether Google would be inclined to help bail out Mozilla for similar reasons, but I will note that antitrust enforcement is even weaker now than it was back then, and that Google almost certainly has a *lot* more dirt on legislators, regulators, US attorneys, and judges than Microsoft did. The recent House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearings made for good political theater, but I’m skeptical that we’ll see any significant improvements in antitrust law or enforcement on the federal level.

  47. Anonymous said on August 13, 2020 at 7:25 pm
    Reply

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/sources-mozilla-expected-to-extend-its-google-search-deal/

    I note in that article the writer’s view;

    “Mozilla’s long-term plan is to build its own revenue streams from subscription-based services and reduce its dependence on the Google search deal,..”

    Mozilla has basically pissed off many existing customers, losing trust and confidence and have given no indication of being able to produce quality products that consumers are willing to pay for.

    Their browser is losing market share, their VPN (their currently most high profile subscription-based service) is a re-badging of an existing ‘competitor’s’ product.

    It seems to me a business plan that is bound to fail when ambition meets reality.

  48. ULBoom said on August 14, 2020 at 4:12 am
    Reply

    Firefox isn’t going away. All the “I told you so’s” with myriad reasons why their demise is imminent spring from a sort of tunnel vision and spite. I don’t like today’s FF but it’s still, with a lot of work, the most private and best looking mainstream browser. They all suck out of the box.

    I’ve used FF since it came out in 2004; it’s never been private without mods. If FF had maintained a higher degree of privacy over the years, I doubt its market share would be different now. Most browser users couldn’t care less about privacy, many hate it! “Look at meeee, I’m famous!” Yuk.

    Look at Google’s annual revenue, any financial and compare the same metric at Mozilla. Google could have eaten Mozilla with their lunch money, actually only a tiny fraction of it, long ago. Google gets multibillion dollar fines and either pays them, cost of doing business, or litigates ad nauseum, which is expensive, too.

    MS owned browsers, they sent Netscape, a better browser, into obscurity with IE before they were forced to detach IE from Windows. A few years later, FF, based on Netscape, was introduced and went to a little over 30% market share until Chrome/Android/ Not Evil Google obliterated the browser (and phone) market.

    If Mozilla f’d up against Google, so did everyone else. FF did better for longer than any of their contemporaries as Chrome was bundled with seemingly every piece of software you could buy.

    When Apple was going down for the count a few years after MS was forced to unbundle IE, MS gave them some hundred millions to rebuild and offset the possibility of MS being litigated as an OS monopoly. They created their own competition.

    Pretty obvious why Google is in Edge, why Google is funding Mozilla why Chrome runs on Apple products now when none of them, except Safari on iOS have any significant market share or revenue compared to what Google brings in with Chrome.

    Google calls Chrome, paraphrased, browser based user ad data collection software. 80% or so of the $168 billion they made last year was ad revenue. Mozilla’s 2019 revenue was .2% of Google’s, who calls the shots?

    From the internal blurb Martin provided, Baker’s clearly telling Mozilla’s employees the organization has to get its collective head out of the sand and begin developing revenue generating products. Burst the bubble, quit wandering aimlessly, letting others call the shots! To be successful, genuine buy in from management and strong leadership will be key; the rank and file can’t and won’t organize themselves to effect a massive culture change. Can Mozilla do it? IDK.

    Real, legitimate product development from concept to market in the same organization in “Tech” is very rare. Google has a 100% failure rate at it but who cares? They don’t need it; PD is a hobby to them, they try it over and over with some left over money, then sue or get sued by the people who leave.

    None of this will stop until Big Tech is broken up. Why should it? Tech CEO’s are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, make money for shareholders.

    1. Anonymous said on August 14, 2020 at 9:05 am
      Reply

      “Baker’s clearly telling Mozilla’s employees the organization has to get its collective head out of the sand and begin developing revenue generating products.”

      The general goal is legitimate. Although it comes 3 years too late.

      On the other hand, Baker knows that Google supports Mozilla due to their decade long connections.

      So this isn’t a typical free market situation. It’s better to view Mozilla as an extension of Google, a subsidiary.

      Of course, a Google subsidiary isn’t subject to the implications of supply and demand. A normal company is either subject to it’s shareholders or to the customers. Mozilla is only subject to Google’s terms.

      The recent change in the browser that makes it difficult to search with anything but the default search engine is one of the things Mozilla had to change in order to please Google and get a good deal.

      Basically they optimize their browser in order to extract as much google searches out of their users to not lose Google’s contract.

  49. Dan Miller said on August 30, 2020 at 4:29 am
    Reply

    Chrome has been my primary browser for some time. It’s far from perfect but it (almost) does the job. That “almost” is why I still have Firefox installed, but if someone can tell me how to fix Chrome, FF will be out the door, even though I grew up with it since Day 1.

    Go to whitepages.com and do an address search on a multi-occupant building such as 280 Collins St, 06105 and note three names shown with a 4th block saying “+(#) Show other residents.
    Each click on that box used to insert 4 more names, until eventually the display was complete; now it does absolutely nothing. Likewise, the “Got it” and “X” buttons that should that should hide the “We use cookies” bar if it’s showing.

    But if I load the same page in Firefox, those buttons work as they should! And not being able to see the whole name list is a showstopper for Chrome.

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