Posts tagged Mozilla

Mozilla to Add “One-Click Searches” to Firefox

The company will give Firefox users the flexibility to choose their own search engines and sites.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Mozilla Celebrates a Decade With New Feature Release

Mozilla’s Firefox used its 10th anniversary as an opportunity to release new features that its audience asked for.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Mozilla Is Working On A Firefox Browser Just For Developers

Mozilla has a new Firefox browser in the works that isn’t just for anyone. According to the company’s announcement Monday, this upcoming project will be “the first browser dedicated to developers.”

The new browser will integrate some of Mozilla’s most popular developer tools, WebIDE and the Firefox Tools Adapter. These tools are currently available for download to anyone on up-to-date versions of the Firefox browser, but the average user never touches them. This developer-specific browser will put them front and center.

“When building for the Web, developers tend to use a myriad of different tools which often don’t work well together,” the announcement on Mozilla’s blog reads. “This means you end up switching between different tools, platforms and browsers which can slow you down and make you less productive. So we decided to unleash our developer tools team on the entire browser to see how we could make your lives easier.”

Apart from a video that rehashes the words of the announcement, there isn’t a lot of information available yet on the new browser. However Mozilla promises that all will be revealed on its launch date, November 10.

Photo by Nayu Kim

View full post on ReadWrite

With New Firefox Browser, Mozilla Hopes To Get Web Mojo Back

Mozilla has refreshed Firefox with a major revamp that features cleaner design, more customization controls and better cross-browser syncing across devices, courtesy of the new Firefox Sync service. 

Version 29 of the desktop browser puts the focus on the active browser tab, and stashes a new drop-down Firefox menu under a single button (at the right corner of the toolbar). Using Firefox Accounts, a login and identity service Mozilla launched in February, Firefox Sync stores browsing history, passwords, bookmarks, open tabs and form data, and makes them available on desktops and Android mobile devices. 

It’s been two years since Firefox’s last big redesign, though the group has been steadily working on performance enhancements for quite a while. Now Firefox’s sleeker outside better matches what’s inside.

Unfortunately, recent events at the organization behind Firefox have overshadowed its important technical work. 

Dating app OKCupid called for a boycott of the Firefox browser last month in protest of Mozilla’s controversial choice of CEO. (Brendan Eich, formerly the company’s CTO, had previously donated money in support of a ban on gay marriage, a fact that alarmed some Mozilla employees and users. After Eich proved ill-suited to handle the backlash, he tendered his resignation after 11 days.) 

Given that, along with Firefox’s eroding marketshare—it’s in third place for desktop browsers, behind Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer—it’s only logical for Mozilla to do whatever it can to entice users back into the fold. 

One thing that could work in its favor: timing. The revamp lands one day after government advisories urged people to seek alternatives to Internet Explorer, pending a fix for a major security hole discovered in the Microsoft browser. A video promoting Firefox 29 highlights the kudos Mozilla gets for respecting users’ privacy:

View full post on ReadWrite

Mozilla Names Former Exec Chris Beard As Interim CEO

Mozilla has a new leader, at least in the short term. The custodian of the Firefox browser named former vice president of products and chief marketing officer Chris Beard as its interim chief executive officer.

Beard, who most recently was an executive-in-residence at Greylock Partners venture capital firm, takes over the top spot at Mozilla after former chief technology officer Brendan Eich. Mozilla appointed Eich as the CEO at the end of March, although his stay was short lived after a firestorm of controversy around his support of the Proposition 8 initiative in California that banned gay marriage in the state until overruled by the courts.

Beard started at Mozilla in 2004 as VP of products before becoming the chief innovation officer and later head marketing officer. Even after leaving Mozilla in June 2013, he has listed himself as an advisor to the company. Beard will also be joining Mitchell Baker, Reid Hoffman and Katharina Borchert on Mozilla’s board of directors.

Baker summed up the introduction of Beard on the company’s official blog:

Mozilla is building these kinds of alternatives for the world. It’s why we’re here. It’s why we gather together to focus on our shared mission and goals. We intend to use recent events as a catalyst to develop and expand Mozilla’s leadership. Appointing Chris as our interim CEO is a first step in this process. Next steps include a long-term plan for the CEO role, adding board members who can help Mozilla succeed and continuing our efforts to actively support each Mozillian to reach his or her full potential as a leader.

Beard follows Jay Sullivan as a top executive at Mozilla to be named interim CEO. Sullivan was the chief operating officer of Mozilla and also held the role of CEO after Gary Kovacs resigned from the role in the spring of 2013. Sullivan left Mozilla after Eich was named CEO.

Mozilla still has plenty of work to do to reestablish its leadership. It also needs two more board members after three left when Eich was made CEO. Mozilla also needs to find a new chief technology officer to replace Eich. Li Gong is set to take over the role of COO this year.

View full post on ReadWrite

Mozilla Names Former CMO Chris Beard As Its New Chief Executive

Mozilla has a new leader, at least in the short term, appointing former vice president of products and chief marketing officer Chris Beard as chief executive officer.

Beard, who most recently was an executive-in-residence at Greylock Partners venture capital firm, takes over the top spot at Mozilla after former chief technology officer Brendan Eich. Mozilla appointed Eich as the CEO at the end of March and his stay was short lived after a firestorm of controversy around his support of the Proposition 8 bill in California that banned gay marriage in the state.

Beard started at Mozilla in 2004 as VP of products before becoming the chief innovation officer and later head marketing officer. Even after leaving Mozilla in June 2013, he has listed himself as an advisor to the company. Beard will not be the permanent replacement for Eich at Mozilla as his appointment is interim until a new CEO is chosen. Beard will also be joining Mitchell Baker, Reid Hoffman and Katharina Borchert on Mozilla’s board of directors.

Baker summed up the introduction of Beard on the company’s official blog:

Mozilla is building these kinds of alternatives for the world. It’s why we’re here. It’s why we gather together to focus on our shared mission and goals. We intend to use recent events as a catalyst to develop and expand Mozilla’s leadership. Appointing Chris as our interim CEO is a first step in this process. Next steps include a long-term plan for the CEO role, adding board members who can help Mozilla succeed and continuing our efforts to actively support each Mozillian to reach his or her full potential as a leader.

Beard follows Jay Sullivan as a top executive at Mozilla to be named interim CEO. Sullivan was the chief operating officer of Mozilla and also held the role of CEO after Gary Kovacs resigned from the role in the spring of 2013. Sullivan left Mozilla after Eich was named CEO.

Mozilla still has plenty of work to do to reestablish its leadership. It also needs two more board members after three left when Eich was made CEO. Mozilla also needs to find a new chief technology officer to replace Eich. Li Gong is set to take over the role of COO this year.

View full post on ReadWrite

With Mozilla In Disarray, The Open Web Needs A Hero

Mozilla is in trouble. There is no way around that basic fact.

The nonprofit maker of the Firefox Web browser needs a new CEO. Brendan Eich has resigned amid a scandal over his financial support of Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that outlawed gay marriage in California. While his donation was revealed in 2012 through a public-records search, he was only Mozilla’s CTO at the time. His ascension to CEO brought the issue freshly into light, sparking discord among his own employees as well as the public, and his awkward defense and refusal to offer an explanation of his views on the issue appeared to play a role in his ouster.

Eich held the job of CEO for less than two weeks. Yet he was the cofounder of Mozilla and a key technical leader since its earliest beginnings. As the inventor of the JavaScript programming language, he was also at the heart of the Open Web movement that Mozilla has championed for almost a decade. 

Now Mozilla, in the worst possible outcome, needs both a new CEO and a new CTO. It hasn’t had a full-time CEO for more than a year; Gary Kovacs left in the spring of 2013. Eich replaced interim CEO Jay Sullivan, who was supposed to leave Mozilla after a transition period. (Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker has said to expect more information next week.)

Mozilla is also down to three board members, after three of its existing members resigned when Eich was appointed CEO. (Mozilla, the corporation, is wholly owned by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which has its own separate board. Eich also stepped down from his seat on the Mozilla Foundation’s board.) Two of those board members were reportedly expected to depart anyway, but whatever the reasons for their departures, they leave Mozilla short of leadership at a time when a board’s service is most critical.

So Mozilla—a vitally important player in Web standards and a bulwark against the commercial interests of large Internet companies—is in a state of disarray. It needs a white knight.

The Godfather Of The Open Web

The perfect person for the job, the rescue CEO who could stabilize Mozilla while upholding its philosophical ethos of openness, would be the man who welcomed Mozilla into the world: Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen.

Under attack by Microsoft, which had annihilated the market for Web browsers by giving away Internet Explorer for free, Netscape decided to release the software behind its browser as open source. At a launch party in San Francisco just over 16 years ago, Andreessen presided over the birth of the project that would become Mozilla. Two million lines of code—the entire source—scrolled down the walls of the Sound Factory, and a movement was born.

But that was a long time ago, and Andreessen has moved on, setting the stages for the cloud industry with his startup Opsware, joining the boards of Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, and eBay, and becoming a very powerful technology investor through his venture-capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz.

The problem is that—aside from his very successful current career—Andreessen has long disclaimed any interest in serving as CEO of a company.

We might hope, though, that out of a sense of moral responsibility for his creation, Andreessen might join the board of Mozilla. His presence there would immediately stabilize the company, attract other board members to fill its depleted ranks, and help recruit a new CEO.

Who Can Run Mozilla?

A white-knight move by Andreessen would certainly help Mozilla in the interim. But it does not solve Mozilla’s long-term problem of finding a leader who will find respect inside and outside the organization and steer the organization in the right direction.

According to an interview with Eich by Jolie O’Dell at VentureBeat, Mozilla had looked at 100 candidates for the CEO position and interviewed 25 of them. “That didn’t lead to anyone being hired,” he told VentureBeat.

According to Eich, Sullivan was in the running but Mozilla’s board decided not to give him the job. Eich, as he put it, was “it”—against his initial wishes, he told O’Dell.

“I was asked to put my hat in, and at first I didn’t want to,” he said. “But now I’m it.”

The position of CEO of Mozilla isn’t the sexiest job. Mozilla—the foundation and corporation put together—pulled in $311 million in revenues in 2012. Individuals who would have the technical chops and expertise to be CEO of Mozilla could easily find high-paying jobs with the likes of Apple or Google. They could also start their own company and raise venture capital with the eye towards a billion-dollar sale or IPO.

As a nonprofit, Mozilla isn’t going to get acquired or go public. Finding a candidate with technical and business prowess, relatively low expectations for compensation compared to the paydays Silicon Valley generates, and who also shares wholeheartedly in the philosophical ethos of Mozilla—an open Web that benefits humanity—is going to be supremely challenging.

That’s not to say there aren’t some intriguing candidates to consider.

Linus Torvalds—the founder of the open-source operating system Linux—might be a great choice but he doesn’t really need the job and doesn’t have the experience running a large organization.

Tom Preston-Werner, the cofounder and president of GitHub, would be an interesting choice if he were so inclined. One problem: He is currently on leave from his job after facing allegations of sexism following the resignation of a high-profile engineer, Julie Ann Horvath.

Michael Mullany, the CEO of Sencha, is a Netscape veteran and Stanford alum. His company is one of the leaders in HTML5 development.

In that general realm, Sam Abadir, the CTO of AppMobi and current venture capitalist, has HTML5 chops and experience leading a company, albeit a small one. His mobile-Web experience could help push Firefox OS to phone makers and carriers.

Former Apple executive Scott Forstall and former Microsoft executive Steve Sinofsky would be interesting candidates. Mozilla would give either of them a way to dig at their old employers—and poke an eye at Google, a rival to them both.

Mozilla has an uneasy relationship with Google, which provides much of its revenues through a search partnership while it makes a competing Web browser and mobile operating system. But that makes Googlers an interesting pool to recruit from. Brian Rakowski, a VP at Google in charge of its Chrome Web browser, knows the space intimately—and would be well-poised to negotiate with the search lords of Mountain View.

Time Is Of The Essence

Eich’s final service to Mozilla was resigning swiftly when it was clear he could not continue as CEO. 

Mozilla needs a leader sooner, not later. It is making a mobile push with Firefox OS. It has a growing list of hardware makers, partners who will want to talk to the company’s top leader. And Mozilla’s contract with Google will soon need to be renegotiated as well.

These are pressing matters. But even more important than these business dealings is the moral leadership Mozilla’s CEO must offer. Mozilla needs a CEO, yes, but the open Web needs a hero. It cannot hold out for one very long.

Photo of Andreessen via Wikimedia Commons; photo of Eich via Mozilla

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Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns After Marriage-Equality Furor; Mozilla Apologizes

Newly appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned his post today following an outburst of public criticism—some from Mozilla employees—over his opposition to marriage equality, his financial support for California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 and questions about his ability to lead a diverse organization of both employees and volunteer contributors given the controversy.

There was little question that Eich, a Mozilla co-founder who created Javascript and served as the organization’s CTO for almost a decade, had the technical chops to lead the company. But some employees objected to Eich as CEO because of his never-recanted support for the ballot initiative that rolled back same-sex marriages in California until a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional in 2010, a finding later upheld by the Supreme Court.

In a blog post, Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker said it was Eich’s choice to resign, a decision he made “for Mozilla and our community.” Baker apologized and reiterated Mozilla’s culture of equality and its support of freedom of speech:

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

Eich’s resignation throws Mozilla’s leadership into turmoil. Baker wrote only that “[w]hat’s next for Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed,” added that the organization wants to be “open” about how it decides its future and said more information should be available next week. 

It’s also not clear whether Eich will remain as CTO of Mozilla, or even if he’ll stay with the organization in any capacity. Recode reported that Eich has left the board of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which owns the for-profit company Mozilla. A Mozilla spokeswoman did not respond to queries by press time.

View full post on ReadWrite

With Brendan Eich As CEO, Mozilla Keeps Its Focus On The Open Web

Mozilla has named Brendan Eich its new chief executive officer. Eich is the inventor of JavaScript and has been Mozilla’s chief technology officer since 2005. He was one of the co-founders of the Mozilla Foundation and instrumental in the launch of the Firefox browser in 2004.

Eich takes over for acting CEO and chief operating officer Jay Sullivan as the permanent replacement for Gary Kovacs, who resigned the CEO position in the spring of 2013. Sullivan will leave Mozilla after a transition period and be replaced by Li Gong.

Eich The Right Man For The Job

Eich has long been the heart of everything that Mozilla touches. He was the chief architect at Mozilla.org in 1998 and on the Mozilla Foundation board of directors. He became CTO of the Mozilla Corporation 2005. Mozilla and Firefox are what they are today thanks largely to Eich. He is a staunch proponent of the open Web—as is everyone at Mozilla—and has been the leading force in getting Firefox OS off the ground for smartphones.

What makes Eich the perfect leader at Mozilla is that he is not a businessman. Yes, as CEO he’ll be responsible for Mozilla’s business partnerships, and that’ll include renewing a contract that keeps Google as the default search engine on Firefox—a deal, by the way, that serves as Mozilla’s primary source of revenue. But Mozilla has never been a corporation all that interested in money. It is, by definition, a non-profit company that focuses its energy on standards and development of the open Web.

By promoting Eich to CEO, Mozilla will remain a tech-centered organization focused on the Web. Mozilla’s strength is pushing the boundaries of what is possible through the browser using HTML5 and other open development practices and principles. The HTML5 Web APIs that Mozilla created for Firefox OS are a key example of that.

Eich ensures continuity of Mozilla’s mission which is important in a technology world that increasingly sees companies that want to lock consumers and developers into walled garden loops of devices and services like iOS, Android and Windows. 

View full post on ReadWrite

How Mozilla Thinks It Can Punch Above Its Weight With Firefox OS Smartphones

The race to connect to put a smartphone in the hands of every person in the world is on. And Mozilla thinks it has a chance to shake things up.

Mozilla, which makes Firefox OS for budget smartphones, announced seven new devices that will ship to emerging markets in 2014. Alcatel is building the Fire C, Fire E and Fire S along with a Fire 7 tablet. Huawei will be releasing the Y300 while ZTE has two new devices in the Open II and Open C. In addition, Mozilla announced the Firefox OS Flame, a reference phone for developers to tune their HTML5 Web apps to Mozilla’s range of devices.

Mozilla also announced a $25 smartphone with chipmaker Spreadtrum, the SC6821 that should ship later this year.

Mozilla is expanding from 15 markets in 2013 to 12 new markets in countries in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. 

The Low End Phone Market Is Getting Crowded

Mozilla COO Jay Sullivan said that the analyst estimates of Firefox OS devices shipped was between 500,000 and 750,000 in the first six months. That may not be a lot when you think that more than a million Android devices are activated every day, but it is still a decent start for an upstart operating system in a crowded market.

At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla and woebegone Linux-based operating system Tizen held simultaneous events at Hotel Arts. Tizen did not have much of anything to announce and as of today it has never actually been used or shipped in a smartphone. Yes, smartwatches from Samsung using Tizen have been announced but still have not actually reached the consumer market. Downstairs from the Tizen event, Mozilla announced a slew of new devices and expansion to more markets. Firefox OS may be the little competitor, but at least it has traction. 

Everybody seems to be focusing on emerging markets these days. Lenovo bought Motorola in part because the Moto G has some foothold in Latin America. Apple still wants to penetrate immense markets like China and India while Microsoft announced a broad manufacturer partnership program at an event in Barcelona today to reach into the budget device market across the world. 

“The way that we compete is through building a community. So, what we’ve done is that Firefox OS is completely open source,” said Sullivan in an interview with ReadWrite. “We don’t build it and open source it when it is done. It is open source. So, Telefonica, Qualcomm, KDDI … many organizations are actively contributing code. So, we feel like we punch way beyond our employee base.”

When compared to the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple, Mozilla is a fairly small company. It’s modus operandi since its inception is to get its partners and the greater open source community to help it developer and distribute its products. When it comes to marketing and retailing smartphones running Firefox OS, Mozilla has taken very much the same type of strategy.

“What has been amazing is our partners in marketing retail and launches and retail training,” Sullivan said. “I spent a lot of time traveling in South America when we launched. And, just to pick a country like Venezuela, we had community members come to Venezuela and train the local retail sales staff and design highly localized, relevant marketing campaigns. The idea about Mozilla is scaling with people who really love what we do. So that’s how we kind of punch above our weight.”

Top image: Mozilla’s Jay Sullivan with Spreadtrum CEO Leo Li by Dan Rowinski

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