Mozilla puts a quarter of its workforce on the street

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The corona crisis has hit Mozilla hard. The company behind the well-known browser Firefox will have to lay off more than 250 employees.


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Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker stated in a statement that the company will have to take a new direction. Above all, these reforms entail a significant cut in the workforce. In total, a quarter of the workforce, approximately 250 employees, will have to be made redundant. Baker talks about a targeted personnel reform, but according to a tweet from a dismissed employee, the security team in particular has been severely decapitated. Despite what the ex-employee claims, according to the company, this will not affect the security of the browser. The office in Taiwan is also closing.

Baker calls the layoffs unfortunate but necessary to be able to continue the company’s mission – ‘create a better internet’. The corona pandemic has drastically reduced the company’s revenues. You could call that somewhat remarkable, because many technology companies are thriving during the crisis because people spend more time online.

In the shadow of Chrome

But the browser has long struggled to hold its own in the competitive browser market. Firefox tries to distinguish itself from other browsers by focusing on privacy and security of surfing data, which is sometimes less daring with Chrome. The number of users has been declining for several years now; Firefox had 300 million users in 2017, now there are 210 million.

Firefox seems to be losing its competition with Google Chrome. Google’s browser has a 66% market share, compared to the 4.26% Firefox only achieves. This is mainly due to the mobile market, where Firefox can hardly be used. Google Chrome is the default browser for all Android devices and Safari for iOS.

Focus on new technologies and services

Mozilla will do more than just fire people, Baker says in his statement. The company also wants to break new ground and focus on new technologies and services. And while it is within certain areas such as expanding web platforms and improving developer tools, it also wants to implement new technologies faster. Experimenting with new technological developments has always been one of the core concerns of Mozilla’s philosophy, says Baker.

Central to that strategy will be the provision of more profitable services. An example is Mozilla VPN, a VPN service that Mozilla recently launched. A subscription to that service costs $ 5 per month, and it covers more than 280 servers from 30 countries. As you would expect from Mozilla, a lot of attention has also been paid to privacy and encryption of your browsing data. For the time being it is only available in a handful of countries, and Belgium is not yet among them.

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