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Mozilla lays off 250 staff, shifts focus to VPN

(Image credit: Shutterstock / tanuha2001)

Mozilla Corporation has announced it will lay off circa 250 employees, cutting its workforce by one quarter.

The company, best known for its popular Firefox web browser, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and will now pivot its focus to projects that generate greater revenue - such as the newly launched Mozilla VPN.

“We know we need to go beyond [Firefox] to give people new products and technologies that both excite them and represent their interests,” wrote CEO Mitchell Baker in a blog post.

“Over the last while, it has been clear that Mozilla is not structured properly to create these new things - and to build the better internet we all deserve.” 

Mozilla operations in Taipei, Taiwan will be closed entirely as part of the restructure, while a further 60 employees (on top of the 250 made redundant) will be asked to shift departments.

Mozilla lay offs

While Firefox will remain a core pillar of Mozilla’s business, the company’s privacy- and security-related products will take on newfound importance. Specifically, the company will invest in its Pocket, Hubs, VPN and Web Assembly offerings.

Mozilla will also build out a new “Design and UX team” to directly support these product lines and a new “Machine Learning team” to improve the company’s capabilities in this area.

“This is hard to internalize and I desperately wish there was some other way to set Mozilla up for long term success in building a better internet. I desperately wish that all those who choose Mozilla as an employer could stay as long as interest and skills connect,” said Baker.

“But to go further, we must be organized to be able to think about a different world. To imagine that technology will become embedded in our world even more than it is, and we want that technology to have different characteristics and values than we experience today.”

Mozilla has thanked the unfortunate 250 for their hard work and commitment, but stressed the importance of the restructure to preserving the long-term future of the business - especially following a turbulent few months during the pandemic.