Mozilla's CEO Headache Comes Amidst A Challenging Shift To Mobile 

Apr 4 2014, 4:17pm CDT | by

The loud and messy departure of the Mozilla Foundation’s Brendan Eich couldn’t have come at a tricker time for the not-for-profit organization.

Firefox makes the world’s second-most popular desktop browser, but it has been struggling to make a solid impact on mobile at a time when more and more people are going online through smartphones.

Mozilla’s big answer in the last few years has been Firefox OS, an open source, web-based operating system for mobile phones. It has struck partnerships with phone makers like ZTE and Huawei to make $25 smartphones running its low-powered platform. More than a dozen carriers around the world, including Telefonica, have agreed to sell these phone, initially in parts of South America and Eastern Europe.

Selling these cheap web phones is part of Mozilla’s mission of getting the next billion or so people connected to the web.

How many Firefox phones have actually been sold? Mozilla so far has refused to answer that question, but one company official told me earlier this year that sales had been in the low hundreds of thousands, and were far off breaking a million. This is a market where nearly a billion smartphones were sold last year, 785 million of them running Android. In hot pursuit are the likes Microsoft, with far bigger marketing budgets than Mozilla’s.

Mozilla’s divorce with its CEO comes just as it needs to build scale in a cutthroat market, not to mention at a point when its main revenue generator is open to question. Mozilla derives the vast majority of its revenue from a $300 million annual royalty deal with Google, and the contract is up for renewal this November.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Virgin Galactic's spaceship crashes during test flight
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) A passenger rocket plane developed by Virgin Galactic's crashed Friday after suffering an "in-flight anomaly" during a powered test flight over the US state of California, the company said.
 
 
Bhopal fugitive Warren Anderson is dead (Roundup, Changing dateline)
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide Corp, has died at 92 after living for 30 years under the shadow of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands.
 
 
Sit-ins delayed building powerhouses: Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, Oct 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday blamed sit-ins for delaying the construction of powerhouses in the country, as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan continued protesting with supporters in the capital city for over two months.
 
 
Britain to repay part of First World War debt
London, Oct 31 (IANS) British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Friday announced that the British government will pay off part of the country's First World War debt as part of the redemption of bonds stretching as far back as the 18th century.