Mozilla has internally announced that about 70 employees will leave the organization as a result of slow rollout of new revenue-generating products.
"You may recall that we expected to be earning revenue in 2019 and 2020 from new subscription products as well as higher revenue from sources outside of search. This did not happen," Mozilla chairwoman and interim CEO Mitchell Baker wrote in her memo. "Our 2019 plan underestimated how long it would take to build and ship new, revenue-generating products. Given that, and all we learned in 2019 about the pace of innovation, we decided to take a more conservative approach to projecting our revenue for 2020. We also agreed to a principle of living within our means, of not spending more than we earn for the foreseeable future."
Baker says laid-off employees will receive "generous exit packages" and outplacement support. She also notes that the leadership team looked into shutting down the Mozilla innovation fund but decided that it needed it in order to continue developing new products.
Mozilla has started testing a number of new products, most of which will be subscription-based once they launch. The feature here is including its Firefox Private Network and a device-level VPN service that is yet to launch, but will cost around $4.99 per month.
This is part of the organization's plans to become less reliant on income from search partnerships and to create more revenue channels.
Here is what Baker write in the company's blog:
Mozilla 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.
We have 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.
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.