Case studies/Mozilla Foundation

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The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to support and provide leadership for the open source Mozilla project. The organization sets the policies that govern development, operate key infrastructure and control trademarks and other intellectual property. It owns two taxable for-profit subsidiaries: the Mozilla Corporation, which employs several Mozilla developers and coordinates releases of the Mozilla Firefox web browser, and Mozilla Messaging, Inc., which primarily develops the Mozilla Thunderbird email client. The Mozilla Foundation is based in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View, California, USA.

The Mozilla Foundation describes itself as "a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving choice and promoting innovation on the Internet". Mozilla Europe, Mozilla Japan and Mozilla China are non-profit organizations whose mission is to help promote and deploy Mozilla products and projects. They are independent of, but affiliated with, the Mozilla Foundation.

Mozilla Corporation

On August 3, 2005, the Mozilla Foundation launched a wholly owned subsidiary called the Mozilla Corporation to continue the development and delivery of Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. The Mozilla Corporation takes responsibility for release planning, marketing and a range of distribution-related activities. It also handles relationships with businesses, many of which generate income. Unlike the Mozilla Foundation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity, which gives it much greater freedom in the revenue and business activities it can pursue.


Financing

The Mozilla Foundation accepts donations as a source of funding. Along with AOL's initial $2 million donation, Mitch Kapor gave $300,000 to the organization at its launch. The group has tax-exempt status under IRC 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code, though the Mozilla Corporation subsidiary is taxable.

In 2006 the Mozilla Foundation received $66.8 million in revenues, of which $61.5 million is attributed to "search royalties". The foundation has an ongoing deal with Google to make Google search the default in the Firefox browser search bar and hence send it search referrals; a Firefox themed Google search site has also been made the default home page of Firefox. A footnote in Mozilla's 2006 financial report states "Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties. The contract originally expired in November 2006, however Google renewed the contract until November 2008 and has now renewed the contract through 2011. Approximately 85% of Mozilla’s revenue for 2006 was derived from this contract."; this equates to approximately US$56.8 million.

Comparison

Mozilla Foundation's similar non-profit structure has made it an ideal candidate for comparison with Wikimedia Foundation. The exact financial statements and further comparison could be seen here [1] and [2]. Also,JohnF conducted an interview with some board members on behalf of Bridgespan.

References