Archive for August 3rd, 2005

Organizing the Mozilla Project — Mozilla Corporation

August 3rd, 2005

The Mozilla Foundation has created a wholly owned subsidiary known as the Mozilla Corporation to help achieve the Mozilla Foundation’s goals of promoting choice and innovation on the Internet. We’ve done this to respond to the success and growing market-share of Mozilla Firefox and the new opportunities this makes possible. Mozilla Firefox is approaching 10% market share, with figures showing usage several times higher in selected groups and countries. We’re reaching the point where Mozilla Firefox is becoming a significant element of the Internet experience and has growing influence within the Internet and software industries.

This presence brings a range of opportunities. Many of these opportunities involve working with other commercial entities. Some involve generating revenue. This is an exciting time, both because our products are so well received and because the opportunity for the Mozilla Foundation to become self-sustaining in terms of revenue makes the long term vitality of the project much greater.

The Mozilla Corporation is created to respond to these opportunities. Non-profit law is reasonably well understood for traditional non-profit organizations like museums, universities and the traditional style of charities. But organizations like the Mozilla Foundation, which develops and distributes consumer software, are new in the non-profit world and the application of nonprofit laws to their activities is a developing area. We’ve found that this uncertainty makes responding to Mozilla Firefox’s success very complex. It is difficult to know what relationships with commercial organizations make sense for a non-profit or how to structure them. It is difficult to know what activities the non-profit should and shouldn’t engage in. It is difficult to determine what ways of generating revenue make sense for a non-profit and which ways of generating revenue are not appropriate.

The Mozilla Corporation has been created to address this. The Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity and so is legally permitted greater freedom of action that is the Mozilla Foundation. The Mozilla Foundation will use this ability to interact with commercial entities and to generate revenue only in those cases where doing so meets the goals of the parent. In other words, its goals and mission are the same of the Mozilla Foundation, only it has greater flexibility in how to meet them. If it makes sense to generate revenue (as we currently do through search relationships) the Mozilla Corporation will look at doing so.

The Mozilla Corporation is legally a taxable, or in general terms, a “for-profit” entity. However, it is not a typical commercial entity. Its purpose is not to generate a return on investment in the financial sense. It is not an investment vehicle or an IPO candidate. It is completely owned by the Mozilla Foundation to promote an open Internet, where consumers have choice and innovation thrives.

More information about the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation and the relationship between them can be found at: or

The health of the Mozilla project, its long-term sustainability, and its role in maintaining diversity to the web is critical for the web. The Mozilla Foundation is extremely important in this goal, and extremely important to me personally. Many people, myself included, have worked for years to see the Mozilla Foundation come to life, the Mozilla project grow and tens of millions of people choose Mozilla products. The Mozilla Corporation is another organizational tool to bring these goals about.

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