Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the development of the Firefox web browser, has announced it is firing 250 people or roughly one-quarter of its workforce.
Mozilla announced a major restructuring of its commercial arm, the Mozilla Corporation. About 250 employees lose their jobs and the shuttering of the organization’s operations in Taipei, Taiwan. This move comes after the organization already laid off about 70 employees earlier this year. The most recent numbers from 2018 put Mozilla at about 1,000 employees worldwide.
Laid-off employees will receive severance that is at least equivalent to their full base pay through December 31. They will still receive their individual performance bonuses for the first half of the year, as well as part of their company bonus and the standard COBRA health insurance benefits.
Mozilla promises that its smaller organization will be able to act more “quickly and nimbly”. In addition it will work more closely with partners that share its goal of an open web ecosystem.
“We are making significant changes at Mozilla Corporation today. Our pre-COVID plan is no longer workable. We are also restructuring to put a crisper focus on new product development and go to market activities. I desperately wish that all those who choose Mozilla as an employer could stay as long as interest and skills connect. Unfortunately, we can’t make that happen today.”
Mozilla Corporation CEO Mitchell Baker wrote in the email.
On the product side, Mozilla will continue to focus on Firefox, as well as Pocket, its Hubs virtual reality project, its new VPN service, Web Assembly and other privacy and security products. But it is also launching a new Design and UX team, as well as a new applied machine learning team to help bring machine learning to its products.
Firefox’s survival is important to the long-term future of the internet, given the complete lack of any real competition for Chrome in the PC arena. Firefox still uses its own Gecko rendering engine but holds less than five percent market share.