Small Business Reading Room

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mozilla Corporation? When reorganizing your corporate structure makes sense

The Mozilla Foundation has a mission- to promote choice and innovation on the Internet. They hope to accomplish that mission in part due to their belief in free, open source software.

The beauty of open source software is that people work to improve it for free. In fact it is the multitude of outside developers who contribute their talents to perfect Mozilla's products that has helped propel the FireFox Web Browser into heated competition with the likes of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. 75 Million downloads is a lot of market share.

It seems like things are working out pretty well for the Mozilla Project.

That's I was a little surprised today at what I read on
Author, Michael Bazeley sums it up in the first sentence;

The not-for-profit group that distributes the popular Firefox Web browser is shifting the creation and marketing of its products to a new for-profit corporation.

I mean, if it's not broken, don't fix it- right?

That old adage may not necessarily be true when it comes to the corporate world, where staying ahead of the curve can be the difference between life and death of your organization.

The truth is in the reason.

Has Mozilla seen the potential for a money grab and decided that sounds better than being the champion of the common web-user?

I don't think so.

The information provided in the above referenced article, and from checking out the FAQ about the reorganization posted on the Mozilla website, makes it pretty clear that forming a commercial subsidiary should actually help them stay true to their roots.

Having the Mozilla Corporation handle revenue-generating activities associated with these products also allows the Mozilla Foundation to achieve its goals while still itself remaining a tax-exempt organization.

It's not like the Mozilla Foundation knew that simply wanting to promote choice and innovation on the internet could lead to a deal with Google that turned out to be worth millions...

Here's the press release from Mozilla on today's announcement.


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