Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Mozilla Posted $163M in Revenue in 2011 as It Shifted Focus to Mobile

Mozilla today disclosed its 2011 financials and laid out a strategic vision around mobilization and openness.

The foundation and its subsidiaries had $163 million in revenue in 2011, up 33 percent from $123 million in 2010.

But Mozilla’s expenses also grew considerably, causing a decline in net cash flow to $13.4 million in 2011 from $21.7 million in 2010.

The biggest increase in expenses came from the cost of software development, with $103 million in 2011 compared to $62.8 million in 2010. The increased cost was due to investment in new products, said Mozilla CFO Jim Cook.

“This represents our continued technology development investments in the future of Mozilla as we quickly move from primarily a one-product organization (Firefox desktop) to multiple products and services with both a mobile and global focus,” Cook said.

The timing and format of the yearly financials release as well as the results of an audit were in keeping with Mozilla’s status as a non-profit.

But the timing is also important for Mozilla as it tries to connect its past and present — the Firefox browser — with its future — the Firefox OS for mobile.

Mozilla has put significant development effort into its new open mobile alternative operating system, and plans to launch its first Firefox OS phones in Latin America in 2013 with partner Telefónica.

As for Mozilla’s financials going forward, the organization doesn’t offer guidance. But based on previous reporting, we do know that late last year Google agreed to pay on the order of $300 million per year to continue to be the default search provider in Firefox. So even as Mozilla pours development resources into mobile, its cash cow is only getting richer.

As for mobile-specific monetization, Mozilla noted that it should make money from OEMs, operators and app publishers for the Firefox Marketplace.

For the occasion of the financials release, Mozilla also created an annual report about its “mobilized” vision in the form of a microsite.

Said the site,

Just like we did on the desktop, Mozilla is setting out to ensure that the mobile Web is full of freedom, choice and opportunity and that it has the ability for users to create anything they want. With Firefox OS, we can break open the world of native operating systems and closed platforms once again.

Mozilla does continue to develop its Firefox for the desktop, even though it may not be growing and driving innovation like it once was. On that front, the annual report highlighted Firefox’s security and memory enhancements and developer tools over the past year, as well as its upcoming social API tools.

It also noted that Mozilla counts improvements and other Firefox-like changes in other browsers as a form of success — for instance, Google adding Do Not Track to the Chrome browser.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work