Mozilla, Inc. - InformationWeek
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8/3/2005
07:33 AM
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Mozilla, Inc.

Mozilla sells out! Well, not really, and certianly not in a bad way: Today, the Mozilla Foundation announced that it was spinning off a taxable, for-profit corporation to take over the product development, marketing, and distribution activities for Firefox and Thunderbird. In most ways, very little will change: The Foundation "owns" the Corporation and still runs the show. Assuming the Corporation plays its cards right, Mozilla will be in a

Mozilla sells out! Well, not really, and certianly not in a bad way: Today, the Mozilla Foundation announced that it was spinning off a taxable, for-profit corporation to take over the product development, marketing, and distribution activities for Firefox and Thunderbird.

In most ways, very little will change: The Foundation "owns" the Corporation and still runs the show. Assuming the Corporation plays its cards right, Mozilla will be in a much stronger position to take Firefox into the enterprise market -- and to take full advantage of Microsoft's decision to deny Internet Explorer 7 to the half of its user base that still uses Windows 2000.From the Mozilla FAQ concerning the reorg: What is the role of the Mozilla Corporation?

The Mozilla Corporation is responsible for productizing and distributing Firefox, Thunderbird, and related branded products built on the Mozilla open source code base. The Mozilla Corporation's mission, shared by that of the Mozilla Foundation, is to promote choice and innovation on the Internet.

Why has the Mozilla Foundation decided to make this change?

The Mozilla Corporation was established to support the Mozilla Foundation’s mission to ensure choice and innovation on the Internet by leveraging the economic value of Firefox which has resulted from its growing marketshare. By forming a commercial subsidiary, the revenue-generating activities of the new entity can provide funds to support development, testing, and productization of the various Mozilla open source technologies. This benefits both end-users of Firefox and Thunderbird, and developers and others who want to use the Mozilla open source code in various ways. Having the Mozilla Corporation handle revenue-generating activities associated with these products also allows the Mozilla Foundation to achieve its goals while still itself remaining a tax-exempt organization.

However, the Mozilla Corporation is not a typical commercial entity and will only pursue revenue-generating activities that are consistent with offering end-users with the best experience possible.

In other words, the corporation won't have to suck up to shareholders to avoid getting sued. That's a privilege most corporate executives only dream about.

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