Monday, May 27, 2024

Mozilla Lays Off 60 Employees: Focus on Firefox Mobile and AI

BizNETAppsMozilla Lays Off 60 Employees: Focus on Firefox Mobile and AI

The non-profit company behind the Firefox browser, Mozilla, recently laid off 60 employees, or about five percent of its total workforce. This layoff is part of Mozilla’s plan to reduce investment in several of its products and focus on potential products, such as Firefox Mobile and artificial intelligence (AI).

According to an internal memo quoted by Engadget, the majority of employees affected by the layoffs were in the product development team. The products that had their investments reduced include Mozilla VPN, Online Footprint Scrubber, Relay, Mozilla Hubs, and mozilla.social.

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Mozilla VPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that offers privacy protection and security while surfing the internet. Online Footprint Scrubber is a digital footprint eraser tool that helps users remove their personal data from various websites. Relay is an email protection tool that allows users to create temporary email addresses to avoid spam and tracking.

Mozilla Hubs is a Virtual Reality (VR) platform that allows users to interact with others in customizable VR spaces. Mozilla.social is a server (instance) on the Mastodon social network run by Mozilla for its community.

“To do this (investment reduction), we have made the difficult decision to eliminate about 60 roles within the company,” Mozilla wrote in the company’s internal memo.

The resources that are still available, according to Mozilla, will be focused on potential products like Firefox Mobile. After all, Firefox Mobile is said to still have a significant opportunity to grow and build a better business model in its industry.

Firefox Mobile is the mobile version of the Firefox browser that offers features such as dark mode, tab collections, tracking protection, and extension support. Firefox Mobile also claims to be faster, more battery-efficient, and more environmentally friendly compared to other browsers.

In addition, Mozilla will also allocate more resources to integrate new AI features into the Firefox browser. These AI features are largely driven by the acquisition of Fakespot and subsequent product integration efforts.

Fakespot is a company that provides online review analysis services to help users distinguish between genuine and fake reviews. Mozilla acquired Fakespot in 2023 and plans to integrate Fakespot’s generative AI technology into Firefox.

“Generative AI technology is starting to rapidly change the industry landscape. Mozilla is taking advantage of this opportunity to bring trusted AI into Firefox,” Mozilla wrote in the memo.

Mozilla will also unite the teams behind Pocket, Content, and AI and machine learning (AI/ML) to develop new AI content. Pocket is a service that allows users to save, manage, and read online content offline. Content is the team responsible for producing quality content for Firefox users.

“Finding good content is still an important part of using the internet. Therefore, as part of today’s changes, we will unite the teams behind Pocket, Content, and AI/ML to develop new AI content,” Mozilla added.

This Mozilla layoff was carried out just a week after Mozilla appointed Laura Chambers as the new CEO. Chambers is a former executive at Airbnb, PayPal, and eBay, who joined Mozilla’s board of directors about three years ago.

Chambers replaced former Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker, who now serves as Mozilla’s new executive chair. According to Baker, Chambers has the task of delivering successful products that advance Mozilla’s mission.

Mozilla is a non-profit company operating in the information technology sector, famous for its Firefox browser product which competes with Chrome, Safari and Edge. Mozilla’s mission is to keep the internet open and accessible to everyone, and to protect the privacy and security of internet users.

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