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layoffs, mozilla 

Mozilla laying off 1/4 of staff blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/08/

Confusingly COVID-19 is blamed, but I don't understand how that could be the case unless it directly correlated with losing specific funders. COVID-19 seems like it could also be an opportunity to close unnecessary offices, dramatically reducing costs.

Worrying:
- This probably means even more browser takeover by chrome
- Vague "pivot to products" talk
- Executive pay keeps going up twitter.com/withoutboats/statu

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber Not to mention a not so subtle hint at abandoning Firefox with the "We have to focus on the products that make money" bit 😬

layoffs, mozilla 

@ari what are those though

are there any?

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber Uhhh

Ads on the front page I guess, via the pocket acquisition.

Their reselling of Mullvad.

layoffs, mozilla 

@ari Mozilla really, really shouldn't be in the business of overselling privacy through VPNs. While VPNs do mask your IP address to sites you visit, they're still a central target for surveillance...

It's really unfortunate that "a VPN is (mostly) another ISP" is not well understood...

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber Oh absolutely, and they completely know better. The only good VPN ad is the one Tom Scott did where he was like "A VPN company tried to sponsor a video but they wouldn't let me actually explain what a VPN does and what it does and doesn't protect against, so I'm just going to explain this anyway and not mention the VPN company."

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber @ari Mozilla's VPN is really Mullvad though. At least in the US, VPNs are at least "a better ISP".

layoffs, mozilla 

@ari @cwebber firefox is the product that makes money....

layoffs, mozilla 

@soapdog @cwebber Apparently not enough. Mozilla's been terrified of losing their revenue stream there for years, especially in light of their now approaching rounding error market share.

layoffs, mozilla 

@soapdog @ari Hopefully that's what is meant then. Firefox *is* where Mozilla's focus should be.

Historically lots of weird moves to try to find new "products" by Mozilla though that haven't seen to gone anywhere.

Firefox is really important. I hope that's where the focus stays!

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber @soapdog I agree, but "New focus on economics. Recognizing that the old model where everything was free has consequences, means we must explore a range of different business opportunities and alternate value exchanges."

makes it sound like they're either going to pull a Netscape and try to sell Firefox, or they're going to focus on the things they charge money for like the VPN.

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@ari @cwebber @soapdog

>pull a Netscape and try to sell Firefox

I almost wonder if that would work. Obviously it wasn't great for Netscape, but back then there was a lot of competition from free browsers. Opera and Internet Explorer were (for their time) very competent browsers, while the other, less featured browsers were still very usable. Savvy users wanted free stuff.

Now, there is no competition, it's either Firefox or Chrome. The smaller browsers are nearly unusable, at least for the vast majority of websites, even Safari struggles. If Firefox doubled down on privacy and security, you might find people willing to pay. Could that be enough? I don't know. But it's an interesting idea.

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@rdh @cwebber @soapdog I seriously doubt it. There are already plenty of websites which are more than happy to totally ignore firefox users and tell you to use chrome if you're not. People aren't going to pay for a browser that doesn't work on the sites they use.

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber @soapdog @ari But also, no user pays for Firefox. And where Firefox does make money is shrinking - and also has been affected by COVID because IIRC, it's tied to some diminishing ad-related search traffic.

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber Problem with offices is that I think they have multi-year leases (sometimes 5+ years) with termination fees that don't actually save any money. As for the other stuff, 🤷‍♂️

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber @nihl Google has not renewed their deal with them and it looks likely that they won’t. That’s a big part of it.

layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber @thegibson you don't save money on offices you're still tied to a lease on. And their revenue is heavily weighted to ad income; it's a well-known thing that the first thing companies cut in hard times is the ad budget. All advertising is taking a hit, and only the huge players have the volume and cash reserves to weather it

So less revenue, basically the same expenses, and no end in sight. Yeah, they had to restructure or risk losing the whole enchilada. But they way they announced this was really shitty. "Oh we're doing layoffs but let's spend 90% of the announcement talking about how that's Good, Actually"

re: layoffs, mozilla 

@cwebber I would gladly hand money to those they fired if those folks started an anarchist tech collective that centered people who were indigenous, Black, queer, disabled, etc, and which created a browser that was even more explicitly about protecting users from surveillance. Of course maybe something like that's already out there, and I just don't know about it...

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