There has been a massive uproar regarding John Lilly’s post about Apple’s dubious update/install process of Safari (follow up regarding competition). I don’t think it needs to be discussed, but John Gruber (Apple fanboy extraodinaire) has a great post regarding exactly why it is wrong. The hoo-haa has largely been largely focused on the idea that this move jeopardises Mozilla’s primary income source, that is searches performed on Google originating from Firefox. Mitchell Baker has extended the commentary writing about her experiences with people often taking this, protecting your income stream, angle on conversations.
Let me show you how I see Mozilla’s angle on this. I don’t think Mozilla gives a flying duck about earning $20 million or $60 million from Google. Looking at their most recent financials you will see that the money is clearly not an issue. They are sitting on a nest egg of almost $60 million, with outgoings of around $20million. In the coming year, I suppose we can estimate that outgoings may be around $30million and even assuming that this move from Apple does squeeze the income down (which I doubt very much) the Foundation will still be turning over a tidy profit. It’s also good to keep in mind, that we don’t need to even speculate for more than a year over Mozilla’s financial situation. The books will be published.
A recurring theme throughout Mitchell Baker’s writing is sustainability and I have no doubt that even with a hypothetic 50% dive in earnings the Mozilla Foundation will remain self-sufficient.
Now before I cast some nasturtiums of my own and add a little bit of food to the fire let me say this. I have no doubt that what John has said as CEO of the Mozilla Corporation is exactly what he means. However something that hasn’t been disclosed are details of the position of CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. I’m certain that in the contract of CEO there are certain goals that must be met and if they are exceeded, certain bonuses will be paid. If this isn’t true, then by all means I will eat my words, however I think that for any person to perform there should be a carrot and there is no reason that the Mozilla Corporation should be any different. (Although after I’ve thought about this, it’s certainly possible that a bonus could be paid purely on a board decision rather than any particular metrics)
It certainly is possible that market share or revenue is a KPI for the CEO or at the very least taken into consideration when their bonus review comes around and comments such as John’s could be seen as influenced by this. Now, don’t take this the wrong way, it is always going to be a hard line to walk and I have no doubt that John, Mitchell and the Mozilla Corporation will continue take Mozilla’s mission forward.