Mozilla will lay off approximately 250 people and shut down its operations in Taipei, Taiwan, the company said in a blog post uploaded on Tuesday. Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker told employees that the company’s pre-COVID plan was no longer workable, as the economic conditions resulting from the pandemic had significantly impacted their revenue. Besides the layoffs, around 60 people from the organisation would also have to change teams.
Baker stated in the blog post that going forward, the company would be smaller. Mozilla plans to work on a new product organisation outside of Firefox, for which it would be investing in Pocket, Hubs, VPN, Web Assembly, and security and privacy products. Baker wrote that it had started the year with immediate cost-saving methods such as pausing hiring and reducing wellness stipend, but the impact of COVID-19 had accelerated the need for these changes.
“We have talked about the need for change — including the likelihood of layoffs — since the spring. Today these changes become real,” Baker said in the internal message. She said that the changes being made today were focused on creating an organisation best equipped to provide products and services that deliver on their mission to make Mozilla sustainable over the long term, in the COVID-19 and post-COVID eras.
The nearly 250 laid-off employees will receive severance that is at least equivalent to full base pay through December 31, 2020. Baker stressed that the action was not in any way a reflection on personal or professional qualities. She said that the company did not approach these decisions as a way to get through the next few months, but in fact looked at what Mozilla needs to do to be sustainable and have impact over time. The organisation was reshaped to meet this.
Mozilla, the blog post said, aimed to be a modern organisation by combining product, technology, and advocacy. Baker added that the company has mapped out specific areas to focus on. There will be a new focus on products that address the kind of problems that people deal with today. A new mindset would be developed, which would mean shifting the collective attitude from a place of defending to one that is proactive.
Baker said that the company plans to draw business into areas that aren’t traditional web technology.
Mozilla Firefox slipped to third position behind fellow web browsers Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge last month, according to third-party numbers from NetMarketShare.
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