Sep 01, 2020

Mozilla (as of 2018-2019[0]) gets millions of dollars from their profitable projects.

Yes this pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions from web search partnership but then so does donations. However, significantly growing revenue from paid products and services is very possible. Whereas increasing donations by two orders of magnitude is very very unlikely.

> this has all been laid out in some detail by now

Providing a link to that would be useful.


Aug 26, 2020

Well, I don't think the Foundation would need to transfer 245k to the Corporation. From what I understand, the Google search deal was done with the Corporation. So the cash transfer is rather Corp -> Found. Instead, it would be enough for the Foundation to give the Corporation a better deal on their various trademarks.

This is published in their financial statement for 2018 [0]. I'm not an accountant nor am I familiar with US Tax law, but from what I understand they received $6M in donations (contributions line) and spent $33M on "programs" (other than software development, which gets its own line). So the difference must have come from somewhere.

Apparently the various trademarks are owned by the Foundation. The Corp has to pay royalties to use them. It's not clear how much, but I don't see why the Foundation wouldn't be allowed to set its own rate and / or give discounts. Internal cash flows are omitted from the consolidated report, though.

What I gather from this is that basically the Foundation is getting most of its money from the Corporation. The Corp. being mainly concerned with Firefox, it could be argued that the Foundation gets money thanks to Firefox.

I can see how people who want to support the browser may take an issue with the Foundation's other, non browser-related activities. Especially when it's clear that they do so to the detriment of the browser (by firing people in order to focus on other pursuits).


Aug 24, 2020

I also wouldn't blame them for not fixing old bugs if they had a shortage of developers. But letting critical security bugs go un-patched, so that your team can work on obscure shiny new stuff instead, that looks like wrong priorities to me.

Nobody would switch to Firefox for WebUSB, which is why I chose it as the example. There's only crickets on Twitter:

Instead, people switch to Firefox for privacy, safety and reliability. Mozilla should prioritize those areas highly. But in the past, they haven't. Instead, they burned a lot of money on acquiring 3rd party services that many Firefox users see as nothing more than unnecessary bloat. Like $30 mio for Pocket.

That's why I point the blame at their management, not their code base or developers.

And just FYI, I'm pretty sure I could hire a world-class team and build an excellent Speech-to-Text Engine just from Mozilla's management budget for a single year. Because AFAIK, their (in my opinion incapable) management pocketed $80 mio in 2018.

Aug 23, 2020

> How could an organization that had its hand in so many world-changing technologies fail to thrive?

The reasons are simply because:

(A): The users don't care about the technologies (Firefox, Rust, Privacy)

(B): No one wants to pay for a web browser; i.e Mozilla can't monetize it.

Which is why they rely on a partnership with Google (as the default search engine on Firefox) to fund the majority of their operations. This is similar to how Google is paying Apple to be the default search engine in Safari on iOS [0] but the figure for Mozilla is much less [1] than with Apple.

From a high-level standpoint of Mozilla's future, it is literally in Google's hands and they also compete against them. Why use Firefox when there is Chrome? Rust, Firefox and Privacy are really not selling points here for the user who doesn't care about the "technologies".

At the end of the day, Mozilla has to stand on its own if it wants to live true to its mission of "privacy" rather than taking funds from a privacy hostile company.



Aug 16, 2020

Well, the EU should just fork or support existing open source Mozilla projects and pay developers... but looking at the budget there seem to be a lot of... unnecessary... money sinks. 80 Mil for management... 200 for dev... but the security team had to be downsized... yeah right.

Aug 14, 2020

What a ridiculous comparison without context. In 2018, EFF's total support & revenue was 17.2M ($15M being public support) [0].

In 2019, the Linux foundation had $96 million in revenue and $71 million in assets [1].

In 2018, Mozilla's revenue was $450M [2].

So how could you possibly compare EFF CEO's pay to Mozilla's? If Mozilla's CEO performs 10% better than the market average CEO, that's significantly more valuable than if the same thing occurs at EFF.

The market rate of good CEO's doesn't simply decline because they work for a non-profit. It depends on the context.




Aug 14, 2020

Mozilla provides financial statements as recent as 2018 which will answer some of your questions.

See page 5 for expenses.

There are several comments here about Mozilla needing to save cash. The balance sheet as of 2018 shows 100+ million in cash assets.

Aug 13, 2020

The 90% number probably comes from Mozilla's financial report, last released for 2018 [1].

"Approximately 91% and 93% of Mozilla’s royalty revenues were derived from these contracts for 2018 and 2017, respectively, with receivables from these contracts representing approximately 75% and 79% of the December 31, 2018 and 2017 outstanding receivables, respectively."

Since for 2018 'Royalties' income was about 430 million, and reports are[2] that the deal was 300 million per year from Google, it's still a massive chunk of Mozilla's operating income, but you're right, it's not 90%. It's more like two thirds of their revenue coming from their market-dominant direct competitor.

Also note that while this specific contract is a four-year deal, Google had been paying Mozilla millions even before then; in 2006 most of Mozilla's money came from Google (note the source is a now-deleted blog post from the current CEO of Mozilla)[3]. It is indeed a decades-old source of revenue, but it remains to be seen if it's dried up; word is they're renewing the contract, but we'll have to wait for Mozilla's next financial report to get more information.