Earlier this week, we reported that Mozilla has laid off 250 employees and another 60 have moved on to other teams. Mozilla head and Mozilla Foundation chairman Mitchell Baker said the organization is being forced to rethink its plans and adjust to the new realities that have changed dramatically after COVID-19, and in various ways to strengthen its financial position.
Given that Mozilla had a total of roughly 1,000 staff, and the organization had already laid off 70 employees earlier this year, Mozilla lost a third of its staff in 2020.
In addition, in her message, Baker said that in the near future Mozilla will revise its business model and focus on financially viable products. It should be noted that previously about 90% of all Mozilla's revenue came from a deal with Google (Google is turned off in Firefox as a default search engine), but this contract ends at the end of this year, and it has not been renewed. Because of this, many experts have expressed concerns about what will happen to Mozilla after 2021.
However, this week edition ZDNet, citing its own anonymous sources in the industry, assured that the contract with Google is likely to be renewed. According to journalists, Mozilla officials will announce the extension of the agreement this fall. The new search agreement ensures that Google remains the default search engine in Firefox until 2023, bringing Mozilla roughly $ 400 million to $ 450 million a year.
Mozilla indirectly confirmed this information, informing reporters that the organization intends to continue cooperation with Google and even expand it.
But back to the topic of staff reduction. Although Mitchell Baker did not disclose in her statement which specialists will be fired, the publication SecirutyWeek writes that at least two information security specialists were fired. One of them – Sarah Huffman (Sarah Huffman), who for two and a half years held the position of risk manager for information security, and the second – Michal Purzynski, information security expert from the threat management team.
Purzinski, who has been at Mozilla for more than eight years, says on Twitter that it wasn't just him being laid off: the entire threat management team was disbanded. In his opinion, in this way, Mozilla has completely deprived itself of the ability to detect and respond to incidents.
They killed entire threat management team. Mozilla is now without detection and incident response.
Tristan, Alicia, Lucius, even our new director are gone
– Michal (@MichalPurzynski) August 11, 2020
The publication notes that now some members of the information security community claim that this decision by Mozilla can be interpreted as a disregard for security, although others believe the Mozilla leadership is doing the right thing.
Mozilla representatives commented on the situation and said that the security restructuring in the organization should have a positive effect and in the future it will only improve the security of Mozilla itself and its users.
"During the restructuring, some positions were indeed abolished, but the teams responsible for the security of the Firefox browser and Firefox services were not affected," the company explained.
According to ZDNet, programmers working on Mozilla's experimental Servo engine, developers overseeing the Mozilla Developer Network, and the Firefox developer tools team also fell under the cuts.