Mozilla to cut 250 jobs as part of major coronavirus restructure

The reorganisation has been made so the company can become faster, more innovative, and find more revenue streams

The Mozilla Corporation will make 250 staff redundant as part of a major structuring programme the organisation claims will be instigated as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Due to a significant reduction in revenue against expectations, the company’s pre-coronavirus plan is no longer workable, and Mozilla has decided to reorganise itself to become smaller and more experimental.

The company will reduce its workforce by approximately a quarter, including closing its operations in Taipei, Taiwan entirely. This is alongside another 60 individuals changing their roles and teams. 

“Our pre-COVID plan is no longer workable. We have talked about the need for change - including the likelihood of layoffs - since the spring. Today these changes become real,” said Mozilla Foundation CEO Mitchell Baker in an internal memo to employees.

“We are also restructuring to put a crisper focus on new product development and go to market activities. In the long run, I am confident that the new organizational structure will serve our product and market impact goals well.”

The company is reducing investment in some areas such as developer tools, internal tool and platform feature development, as well as transitioning security and privacy products to its New Products and Operations Team.

This division, which sits outside of the Firefox web browser, will aim to ship new products faster and develop new revenue streams. The initial investments include Pocket, Hubs, VPN, Web Assembly, as well as security and privacy products. 

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Mozilla will also create a new Design and UX team to support these products, as well as a Machine Learning team that would help its products include machine learning features. 

Supporting these divisions is the centralisation of Marketing to support new products as well as the core Firefox business. The engineering operations will be combined with IT, meanwhile, to create more focus and efficiency, the company claims, while a centralised security assurance function will also be established.

Decisions about how to restructure the ‘new’ Mozilla were made to increase innovation, ensure financial sustainability over a long-term period, and find new potential revenue streams that can deliver faster.

The company had already embarked on such a trajectory with the launch of its first paid-for VPN service in recent months, as well as rumours of a premium subscription-based Firefox web browser the year before. 

These ventures have been delivered at a much slower pace than the Mozilla Foundation would have liked, however. Part of Mozilla’s new approach certainly means exploring ways to monetise and add a transactional element to its services.

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