Mozilla Foundation Lays Open its Financial Results

Nov 23, 2009

The Mozilla Foundation survived 2008 fairly well despite the economic downturn, says chairman of the foundation Mitchell Baker in her blog. In it she's pretty detailed about its financial status and lays out the figures.

Mitchell's financial statement reports that the revenue from 2007 to 2008 grew from $75.1 to $76.8 million, a five percent increase. Most of it came from integrated search engines in Firefox, primarily from Google. However, the 2008 revenues include a $7.8 million loss in long-term portfolio investment resulting from the economic conditions.

The end of 2008 saw 200 people working full- or part-time for Mozilla, which amounted to 58% of the expenses. Total assets of the foundation were $116 million in 2008, compared with $99 the previous year

Of some concern is an IRS audit to examine records from 2004-2007. According to Mitchell in her blog, "We do not yet have a good feel for how long this will take or the overall scope of what will be involved." Fortunately the foundation established a "tax reserve fund" in 2005 just in case.

Among the Mozilla Foundation's supported projects are Mozdev, the Software Freedom Conservancy, Firebug and the jQuery library. Mitchell indicates that "2008 was another exciting and robust year for Mozilla." During it was launched Mozilla Messaging to develop Thunderbird and establish the new Raindrop messaging service. The year also launched experiments such as the Ubiquity natural language browser interface and expanded programs such as Weave, Personas and Prism.

The financial statement also has a few figures about users. By Mozilla's reckoning, by the end of 2008 daily 110 million people used the Firefox browser, which amounted to about a 22% market share. (The U.S. share was somewhat lower, at 20%, than the European share, at 32%.) As of November 2009, the worldwide figure grew to 25%.

Looking forward, Baker acknowledges that the explosion of mobile devices has been complex due to the variety of platforms and the resulting competition to find customers. Mozilla has been working hard on a mobile browser since 2008 and it should see the light of day by the end of 2009. The Thunderbird 3 email program should also appear in 2009.

Mozilla has accomplished a lot, says Baker. But the growing competition is definitely a challenge for the future. As she says, "Let's go surprise people once again by showing how much better we can make the Internet experience."

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