Mother Jones, the lefty politics magazine based in San Francisco, tarnishes its usually sterling reputation for tough investigative reporting with an interview with Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit behind the Firefox Web browser. The deepest "inside the Firefox's den" they venture? Exposing the arresting effects of Baker's mane of red hair on the mostly male-dominated rooms she commands. If Mother Jones were up to its usual hijinks, it would be asking Baker, instead, about rumors that Mozilla faces a $14 million back tax bill after flunking its latest audit.Mozilla hasn't filed financials since its 2006 report, when it just squeaked by a rule that allowed it to avoid disbursing more of the money that has gushed into its coffers from a lucrative search-referral deal with Google. Since nonprofits like Mozilla are allowed to file their finances on a downright sluggish schedule, it will be some time before we know what's really happening with the browser maker. But it has been holding onto a large chunk of change just in case it faced a challenge over its nonprofit status, and we've heard that the latest review of Mozilla's finances didn't hold good news. Wouldn't that have made for a much interesting conversation than whether Baker considers herself a geek sex symbol? (Photo via Mother Jones)
Only four years after its launch, Mozilla's Google-milking cash cow Web browser, Firefox, is now approaching 20 percent market share, reports NetApplications, a website-statistics provider. Just two months ago, over 8 million people downloaded a copy of Firefox 3, in a marketing stunt which garnered Mozilla a Guinness record. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer is dipping below 70 percent market share. [TGDaily]
A new version of Firefox, the popular alternative Web browser, is getting close to releasing a third version. That's prompting people to take a close look at the business practices of Mozilla Corp., the maker of Firefox. Danny Sullivan, the longtime search-engine observer, is calling on Mozilla to let Firefox users pick the search engine built into their browser; Firefox 3 defaults to Google in its new release, as it has in the past. Sullivan has a point: Google, which has called for openness, risks seeming hypocritical. But he gets the business side of things all wrong.
Mozilla's 10th anniversary party at 111 Minna last night felt a little like a high school reunion for the kids who didn't go to their high school reunion. The Mozilla Foundation, maker of the Firefox browser, feigned poverty by renting just half the gallery space and serving up crudités and issuing one drink ticket per guest, only later splurging by opening up the bar. There was some awkward dancing to Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," old jean jackets embroidered with the Netscape logo, a gargantuan chocolate cake and a photo booth. Many of the oldsters who were around when CSS was just a dream and Ajax was still used to scrub toilets also traded reminiscences of Burning Man, tech society's annual prom. Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker earned part of her $500,000 salary by giving a brief speech. And sign-toter Frank Chu showed up, uninvited but always welcome. But the talk of the party was the man who wasn't there.
Yesterday we speculated that a BMW M5 with a "Mozilla" vanity plate might belong to Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker, who could afford the $80,000 car with her $500,000-a-year salary. We were wrong. "I will admit to it being mine," Lou Montulli, one of Netscape's founding engineers, commented on the post. On his personal site, Montulli admits to more.
The Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit behind Firefox, just released its 2006 financial statement. It turns out Moz's for-profit arm is making millions from a deal with Google. 85 percent of its revenue — some $56 million — came from the Google search box that is the default on every Firefox install. Google also provides users for Firefox via a pay-to-download program with Google's AdSense program and the Google Pack — a collection of apps including Google Earth, Adobe Reader, Skype and Firefox. Firefox is generally posited as David against Goliath — Microsoft's Internet Explorer. But really, Firefox is more of the slingshot, wielded by the David of Mountain View as Google and Microsoft fight Browser Wars 2.0. The latest data marks Firefox at 14.9 percent market share against IE's still-dominant 77.9 percent.