Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, is laying off “about 70” or more employees today, according to an internal memo published by TechCrunch. The memo pins the layoffs on missing revenue that Mozilla expected to rake in last year.
While Firefox has its advantages over the most popular web browser, Chrome, Mozilla’s browser is nowhere near as popular by marketshare as it once was, according to recent stats by W3Counter. This is a problem because Mozilla is still dependent on the money it makes from building certain search engines into Firefox. According to the memo, attributed to executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Mozilla expected to start making more money “outside of search” in 2019, including from subscription products. “This did not happen,” the memo states bluntly.
One such subscription service is the Firefox Private Network, but Mozilla’s paid VPN service currently directs potential customers to a waitlist. “Our 2019 plan underestimated how long it would take to build and ship new, revenue-generating products,” Baker allegedly wrote. “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.”
Reached by Fast Company, a spokesperson for Mozilla declined to share the exact number of layoffs, but provided a range: “Our global employee population was just under 1,100 prior to today’s announcement and will be just over a 1,000 going forward,” the spokesperson said.
According to a blog post attributed to Baker, the layoffs will help the company “fund innovation.”
“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.”