Firefox’s developer Mozilla is laying off a quarter of its workforce following the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company previously had around 1,000 employees.
The company’s CEO, Mitchell Baker, announced the job layoffs yesterday in an internal message, writing, “economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted our revenue. As a result, our pre-COVID plan was no longer workable.”
Baker also added that the 250 employees laid off included those in Taipei, Taiwan. The employee cut will reduce Mozilla’s workforce in several countries aside from the United States, like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Mozilla generates most of its revenue through the Firefox browser. As the browser is free for consumers, it gets its revenues from royalty deals with Google and Yahoo to feature their search engines. However, in recent years and following the COVID-19 outbreak, deals had been declining. Another source of revenue for Mozilla is advertising, but as more brands and companies get affected by the pandemic, many businesses decided to stop buying ads.
Baker further explained in her announcement that Mozilla is going to focus on developing new revenue streams, saying, “means we must explore a range of different business opportunities and alternate value exchanges.”
Baker’s memo didn’t exactly specify how the pandemic has affected the company overall, but she mentioned several future plans for the company. “Our initial investments will be Pocket, Hubs, VPN, Web Assembly, and security and privacy products. In addition, we are creating a new Design and UX team to support these products and a new applied Machine Learning team that will help our products include ML features,” Baker wrote.
Back in January, Mozilla had also laid off around 70 employees, but this time, Baker said they did more than just “trim,” saying that the company’s decision to lay off employees was not just a “stop gap or a way to get them through the next few months,” but rather, they looked at what the Mozilla Corporation needs to be “sustainable” and “have impact over time.”
All laid-off employees will be given severance packages that are “at least equivalent to full base pay through December 31, 2020.”