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Mozilla Lays Off 70 as Subscription Revenue Falls Short of Goals
Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert Kathleen Greenler Sexton --- Subscription Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Boston , MA
Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Company commits $43 million to product innovation.

Mozilla Lays Off 70 as Subscription Revenue Falls Short of Goals

Source: Mozilla

Last week, nonprofit technology company Mozilla announced it would lay off 70 employees because the company failed to reach its goals with new subscription products, reports TechCrunch. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla chairwoman and interim CEO, shared the news with employees in an internal memo. The company had hoped to increase revenue through subscription and non-search-related products. Doing so has taken longer than anticipated, so the company is estimating 2020 revenue more conservatively. In addition, Baker said the company has “agreed to a principle of living within our means” and not spending more than they take in. The laid off employees will receive “generous exit packages and outplacement support.”

Baker also shared the information externally in a blog post:

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“Mozilla must do two things in this era: Continue to excel at our current work, while we innovate in the areas most likely to impact the state of the internet and internet life. From security and privacy network architecture to the surveillance economy, artificial intelligence, identity systems, control over our data, decentralized web and content discovery and disinformation — Mozilla has a critical role to play in helping to create product solutions that address the challenges in these spaces,” wrote Baker.

In the post, Baker said Mozilla needed to allocate resources to fund innovation. The company is devoting $43 million to building new products.

“Mozilla has a strong line of sight on future revenue generation from our core business. In some ways, this makes this action harder, and we are deeply distressed about the effect on our colleagues. However, to responsibly make additional investments in innovation to improve the internet, we can and must work within the limits of our core finances,” said Baker.

“We make these hard choices because online life must be better than it is today. We must improve the impact of today’s technology. We must ensure that the tech of tomorrow is built in ways that respect people and their privacy and give them real independence and meaningful control. Mozilla exists to meet these challenges,” Baker added.

Though known for its Firefox browser and Thunderbird email program, Mozilla offers other Firefox-branded products including monitoring software (Firefox Monitor), password safe (Firefox Lockwise), file sharing (Firefox Send) and content curation (Pocket).

Mozilla Lays Off 70 as Subscription Revenue Falls Short of Goals

Source: Mozilla

Mozilla browser Firefox

Mozilla is also working on a virtual private network to help web users to protect their web history, be safer on public Wi-Fi, and to protect against cookies and other online data collection. Browser-level VPN is available for free with a Firefox account, VPN for Windows 10 desktops is available for $4.99 a month during beta testing. Subscribers can connect up to five devices. According to the Firefox VPN website, Android and iOS versions are coming soon.

Some of the employees laid off – and many people who support the Mozilla mission – took to Twitter to commiserate and share new job opportunities. Here are just a few of the many tweets about the layoffs:

Mozilla Lays Off 70 as Subscription Revenue Falls Short of Goals

Source: Twitter

Insider Take:

There is never really anything good or new to say about layoffs, especially about a mission-driven, nonprofit like Mozilla. Sure, nonprofits are affected by the same market shifts that for-profit companies are, but that doesn’t make difficult decisions like this any easier to stomach. From what we can tell, it looks like Mozilla’s revenue was declining and they hoped to replace it with subscription-based revenue, but maybe the company didn’t pivot swiftly enough. This is not the fault of the employees who were laid off, but perhaps maybe of poor planning on the part of management. We hope to see Mozilla and the employees who lost their jobs rebound in 2020.

Dana Neuts is Subscription Insider's Senior Staff Writer, covering our daily subscription news as well as member features, case studies, and reports.  

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