Mozilla, Sugardaddies, Sustainability and Targets

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.


Since Daring Fireball has opened it’s closed feed up to allcomers it has turned from, good well written articles that I really enjoyed reading, to my Google Reader folder of stuff I really want to read every morning. I don’t have an Apple, can’t use an Apple and probably never will, and maybe that’s why I never considered paying for the full feed (though I’ve thought about getting a shirt). Anyway, it’s good, especially cause it provided me with a link to this great story. I also really love his use of the ★s.

Stocked iPod’s and DRM

Yesterday in Wired, an article talked about the two Apple’s new contract, which allows Apple Inc (nee Computers) to start selling ipods with music preloaded. Today, Steve Jobs writes an open letter to the record labels telling them to remove DRM because it doesn’t work anyway, (commentary is everywhere) while it may seem like a coincidence, I don’t think all of things are falling together at the same time is due to God’s dice game with the universe.

Due to the non-proliferation of music that Apple has agreed to, there is no way to transfer music from an ipod directly into iTunes (I know you can get it off but it isn’t really by design). This seems to put a bit of a spanner in the works of the suggested preloaded iPods. Why would I buy an iPod full of music if I can’t get it off and put it on my computer?

I don’t mean to be a conspiracy theorist, but I would suggest that this is the exact same reason you won’t be able to download music and videos straight to the iPhone. Surely Jobs has seen the economics of the mobile downloading market and knows how much money really could be in it for him, but at the moment the agreements with the labels would prevent it.

Recently there has been a huge noise in the media about DRM being dead, and that the only way to break the Apple hold on the digital music market would be to ditch it altogether and I think Jobs is using this to push the Labels in his own direction. He wants it to be dead as well, because it allows him to start using iPods as sharing devices and sell more iPods.

Apple, Google, Intel and Video

Google has announced that they are using Intel’s new viiv technology with their Video offering. The blogs are abuzz with Engadget, Gizmodo and Ars Technica featuring news of it and speculating that they are taking on Apple. I can’t help but think that Apple has been in on it, or doesn’t have a problem with it due to the fact they are moving to Intel processors and will be getting the option to use the same viiv platform.

I realise it’s completely against what Apple has been pushing towards (being a Media Company) but they do have partnerships with the big media and it may well give them new distribution channels and partners.

Firefox and Camino on the Apple

Dave Winer has bought an so he can work on the OPML editor for it. He’s complaining about how much he hates using Safari. I’m not sure whether or not it’s because he hates Apple or because of the actual software. That’s his perogative. There are 2 extremely good options other than IE or Safari. You may have heard of Firefox and Camino is a Gecko based browser for the Apple. They are both worth a look.

Podcasting and the Commons

Dave Winer has been talking about the lock-in Apple seems to be performing with it’s new Podcasting support. One of the things he mentioned was no links in the descriptions of the Podcasts. Obviously this is a problem and really needs to be solved so that BigCo’s aren’t shitting on the little guys.

I think one of the common denominators across Podcasting is the license they are released under, CC. Why can’t the Attribution clause specify that in the context of the Internet a Hyperlink is Attribution. This is the law of the jungle out here in the Internet anyway, let’s make them play on our field.