Mozilla Goes Corporate

from the there's-money-in-them-thar-open-source-stuff dept

A few months ago there was some buzzing over the fact that the Mozilla Foundation’s search deals with both Google and Amazon apparently had the non-profit rolling in gobs and gobs of money. So much money and an inability to profit was apparently too much to take for some, leading to a decision to create a fully owned for-profit subsidiary. Apparently that NY Times story broke an embargo and got a few facts wrong, but the core of it does seem accurate. Others are starting to fill in the details as well. Most of the employees will be shifted over to the for-profit side of the house. While some are saying that this isn’t really a big deal and was done more for tax purposes than anything else — it’s not clear everyone will view it the same way. As Joi Ito points out, the NY Times is wrong on the business model (apparently thinking that the only way open source software can make money is offering support and service contracts). The search deals alone, apparently have been quite successful. As for the fear that this will turn developers off, that seems unlikely. The code is open source, so they can take off and do what they want with it. Also, there aren’t that many decent alternatives anyway. The real issue is whether or not the Mozilla Foundation will be able to stay focused with this new structure, and not be driven to distraction. Yes, the code is open source and others can pick up the development — but, obviously having a core of developers whose only job is to work on the code is certainly important. So, does this put to rest the idea that Google was looking to create a Google browser based on Firefox… or does it just make it more likely?

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