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State of Mozilla

Advancing the Mozilla Mission

This is the State of Mozilla for 2015, our annual report. This report highlights activities for 2015 and is accompanied by detailed financials. This report is released when we submit our non-profit tax filing for the previous calendar year.

The Mozilla Foundation was created in 2003 and our mission is to ensure the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. The first principle in that mission is understanding that the internet is an integral part of modern life — a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.

Mozilla champions web technologies and open standards to promote openness, innovation and opportunity online. We protect the health of the internet and the critical balance between commercial profit and public benefit to help fulfill our mission.

The growth of the web makes the Mozilla mission more important today than ever before. We see an exploding world of connected devices where parts of the web are being monopolized and controlled by a few. There are billions of people online, but not enough transparency and control in the form of security and privacy protections for users from companies, app developers and governments.

Mozilla is focused on influencing key internet health issues like privacy and security, web literacy, open innovation, digital inclusion and decentralization. We’re best known for creating the independent Firefox web browser that hundreds of millions of people around the world use today. We build products, organize communities, provide education tools and run advocacy campaigns to help people protect the internet.

We measure our success not only by the adoption of our products, but also by our ability to increase the control people have in their online lives, our impact on the internet, our contribution to standards, and how we work to protect the web that users want.

Developing Products

We created Firefox in 2004 as an independent alternative to give people choice and control online and Firefox has influenced innovation in browser features and developer tools since then. Today, Mozilla continues to create leverage that helps us advocate for openness, innovation and opportunity online to help fulfill our mission.

Today, we see a lot of competition in browsers and web technology and we are proud that Firefox ignited this competition. Competition spurs innovation: this is what we wanted to build when we created Firefox. Mozilla also believes it’s important that there be an independent alternative that promotes openness, innovation and opportunity online: we seek to occupy that role.

Mozilla introduced new Firefox products in 2015 across desktop and mobile platforms, including Firefox for iOS, Firefox Private Browsing with Tracking Protection, and Focus by Firefox content blocking app (Klar by Firefox in German-speaking countries). Work in 2015 allowed us to invest in Firefox with a major re-architecture to build a multi-process browser that improves security and performance. We also began work in 2015 on the Firefox Test Pilot program for experimental features and our new Context Graph project, both of which launched in 2016.

Mozilla works to empower developers with tools, resources and education to create open web technologies to inspire ideas, encourage collaboration, innovation and ultimately, foster the growth of the open web. We provide the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN), a key resource for web developers online as an open, free, community-built online resource for all web developers. For more than 10 years, Mozilla has provided this resource free of charge to everyone with the aim that anyone should be able to build on the web. We launched Firefox Developer Edition, the first browser dedicated solely to developers, at the end of 2014 and have made improvements to the browser throughout 2015 and 2016.

Establishing Web Technologies

Mozilla builds technologies that benefit the entire web ecosystem. We all benefit when every browser supports open and interoperable technologies. Just a few examples of web technologies and standards Mozilla influenced in 2015 include developing MSE/EME which are the fundamental building blocks driving all modern video streaming solutions on the web today replacing Adobe Flash. We also support HTTP/2 which dramatically increases the control website authors have over the traffic between client and server.

Mozilla contributed to the web platform by building A-Frame, a library of building blocks for Mozilla WebVR to make it easier for more people to create virtual reality content. We also made progress in web gaming by extending JavaScript’s capabilities with technologies such as asm.js and WebAssembly. Mozilla pioneered WebGL, the web’s standard for 3D graphics, and will ship WebGL2 in Firefox next year. Unity, one of the world’s biggest game engines, made WebGL an officially supported platform in 2015. Our work on Project Quantum in 2016, building on long-term R&D investments in Servo and Rust, is one way Mozilla is working to build for this future.

We know the future of the web will only increase performance and security demands, and Mozilla works to meet these needs in new and innovative ways.

Protecting Internet Health: Policy, Advocacy, Education

We also expanded Mozilla efforts in policy, advocacy and education in 2015 to advance our mission and help protect the health of the internet. These efforts all tie back to key internet health issues: from privacy to digital inclusion.

Privacy and Security

At Mozilla, we fight to protect privacy and security online. We believe that there must be transparency, trust and user control in cybersecurity. Mozilla has been active in the fight against excessive government surveillance around the world. We called on U.S. lawmakers to rein in mass surveillance, presenting a petition with thousands of signatures and helping to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. We advocated for specific improvements to surveillance law in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany, and supported our community in other countries, including Nicaragua. Mozilla also campaigned against a German data retention law that would require telecommunications and internet service providers to store German citizens’ digital data.

Mozilla worked with Akamai, Cisco, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Identrust, and the University of Michigan to found Let’s Encrypt and move the web towards universal encryption. In 2015, Mozilla took a stance on many other issues in cybersecurity, including cybercrime in South Africa and approaching cybersecurity with a global, user-centric perspective.

In 2016, Mozilla launched a global encryption advocacy and education campaign to help people understand and engage with encryption as a core technology that keeps our everyday transactions and conversations secure. This campaign launched just days before news of the Apple vs. FBI case broke, in which Mozilla made statements and filings in support of Apple and encryption overall. We called out the dangerous precedent of governments asking companies to weaken security, in violation of the responsibility to protect users.

Work that we did in 2015 resulted in the introduction of the lean data principles in 2016 to help companies and services build user trust by staying lean, building in security and engaging users.

Open Innovation

Mozilla supports open innovation at the core of everything we do. We develop Firefox and all our products as completely open source technologies, resulting in rapid open development and many other products using Mozilla code.

Mozilla has been a strong advocate for net neutrality developments and introduced a novel approach to certain net neutrality issues called “equal rating.” Our support of net neutrality is grounded in our belief that we all must fight to maintain access to an open, global and growing internet. In 2014, Mozilla played a key role in the adoption of strong net neutrality rules in the United States. In 2015, Mozilla engaged globally in the net neutrality and zero-rating debates, including in Peru, Europe and India.

In 2015, Mozilla took a strong stance on the improvements we’d like to see to copyright reform in Europe to preserve and protect the web, and to better advance the innovation and competition principles of the Mozilla Manifesto. We believe an explicit exception for interoperability would directly advance the goal of promoting innovation and competition through copyright law. Mozilla continued to educate and advocate for copyright reform in Europe throughout 2016.


The Mozilla Manifesto outlines that the effectiveness of the internet as a public resource depends on decentralized participation worldwide. Decentralization means that the internet is controlled by many, not just a few.

Mozilla has advocated for patent reform in the U.S. We believe that the software patent system is challenging for open source software development. If users are unable to shape their own web experience, or use the technologies of their choice because of patent restrictions, or if their uses of technologies are restricted as being in violation of overbroad patents, then user control and empowerment suffers. In 2015, we launched the Mozilla Open Software Patent Initiative and Mozilla Open Software Patent License (“MOSPL”) as our proposal for a first step towards improving the impact of patents on open source software development, and we continued patent reform work in 2016.

Mozilla also entered into a new decentralized global search strategy at the end of 2014. We shifted from one having global search default in Firefox to a more local and flexible approach by country to offer users more choice and to enable innovation and competition in search.

Web Literacy

Web literacy means having the skills to read, write and participate in the digital world. Everyone needs these skills so they can be in control of their own experiences online.

To help fulfill our vision of universal web literacy, Mozilla developed, released and upgraded our free, open-source education tools like Thimble and Webmaker. Mozilla is also developing educational programs like Hive Learning Networks, which empowers the next generation to develop and use digital literacy skills that will keep the web open.

Mozilla hosted Maker Party, a distributed global event that encourages formal and informal educators alike to teach digital skills like HTML, search engine basics and privacy best-practices. To build on the momentum of Maker Party, Mozilla launched Mozilla Clubs, a network of ongoing web literacy gatherings.

Last year, 10,000-plus Mozillians taught critical 21st-century skills to individuals of all ages and backgrounds; they translated open source products into a range of new languages; they defended the free and open nature of the web; and much more.

Digital Inclusion

Mozilla is working toward the goal of creating a more inclusive internet, rich with opportunity for everyone. This begins with all products and experiments being developed as an open source project with open code, and being completely open to a global, diverse and inclusive community.

As a part of our focus on digital inclusion, Mozilla began a partnership with UN Women to teach critical digital skills to girls and women in these regions. Mozilla and UN Women set out to work alongside local educators and build a network of web literacy clubs that promote peer-to peer-learning. This work is happening on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa.

We also partnered with UK-based think tank Caribou Digital to research the forces behind inequality and exclusion online. Understanding the effects of the global app economy, and helping to build a more inclusive mobile web, are key.

Mozilla started the Mozilla Open Source Support program to recognize and celebrate communities who are leading the way with open source projects that contribute to our mission and open web technologies. We also created the Secure Open Source (SOS) Fund to support security audits and the development of patches for widely used open source technologies.

How Mozilla Operates

The Mozilla Foundation was formed in 2003 to protect the open nature of the internet by developing open source software and building a global community. The Mozilla Corporation was established in 2005 as a wholly owned taxable subsidiary that serves the nonprofit, public benefit goals of its parent, the Mozilla Foundation. Both Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation are guided by the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto and each is governed by a respective Board of Directors.

The Mozilla Foundation focuses on advancing the Mozilla mission through education, advocacy and movement building. The Mozilla Foundation’s programs are carried out by 65 employees and thousands of volunteers around the world. These activities are funded by public support from individual donors and foundations and from royalties earned that are paid by the Mozilla Corporation. The Mozilla Foundation is the sole shareholder in the Mozilla Corporation.

The Mozilla Corporation focuses on advancing the Mozilla mission through product and policy work, and revenue from products and services is reinvested into the organization. Mozilla Corporation has just over 1,000 employees worldwide.

Inclusion and diversity are central to the Mozilla mission. We know innovation stems from a diverse workforce to fuel different approaches. It is crucial for us to create and maintain a diverse workforce because this diversity of perspective and problem-solving outperforms individual ability. Mozilla has elected to voluntarily and transparently share the information in our filing of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as part of our ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity. This information reflects our U.S. Mozilla Corporation employees only. Sharing it publicly is an important step we are taking to improve diversity and inclusion at Mozilla and in the technology industry. We are committed to ongoing transparency in this regard. You can find out more about Mozilla’s inclusion and diversity strategy here.

We also believe that attracting talent that is motivated, creative and passionate is crucial to our success. We want to attract and retain that talent while ensuring total compensation is competitively reasonable and aligned with Mozilla’s culture and mission. While the compensation philosophy is similar between the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, the market frameworks used to benchmark total compensation are different given the nature of work and the talent required. Mozilla Foundation is benchmarked against similar-sized nonprofit organizations, while Mozilla Corporation is benchmarked against a composite of similar-sized non-profits and for-profit consumer internet software companies. Mozilla seeks to align total compensation for its employees between individual and company performance.

Transparency is a key part of how Mozilla approaches user trust. As an open source project that relies on open development, we build transparency into the way we write our code. Additionally, our product documentation and notices describe how our products work and how we handle user data. With this transparency in mind, we publish bi­-annual transparency reports that help provide additional transparency to government disclosures and takedown requests.

Maintaining Sustainability

This annual report includes the below links that detail audited 2015 financial statements for Mozilla.

The majority of Mozilla revenue is from Firefox web browser search partnerships around the world. Mozilla’s work is also supported through grants and individual donations. These contributions fund our nonprofit work in education, journalism, science, leadership development and other fields. And, in turn, all of the work we do at Mozilla contributes to the overall sustainability and health of the internet.

The Mozilla Corporation entered into a new search strategy at the end of 2014. We decided that one global default search partner was no longer the right choice for our users or the web. Instead, we adopted a more local and flexible approach by country to control our own destiny and to diversify the user experience and competitive landscape of web search globally.

We announced Yahoo as our default Firefox search provider in the US at the end of 2014, as well as continued search relationships with Baidu, Yandex and other regional partners around the world. The new search strategy increased the number of options available to Firefox users. We have new partnerships with DuckDuckGo, Google, Yahoo and more. We also continue to have relationships with Amazon, Bing, Twitter, Wikipedia and regional search providers.

Firefox users can easily choose to change their search provider from a number of pre-installed alternatives, including Amazon, Bing, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia and many regional search providers. This supports our global search strategy and user-focused product strategy to provide people with choice and control over their web experience.

In 2015 and 2016, Mozilla entered into additional search partnerships, bringing our total to 12 partners and including all major internet search providers. The new search strategy diversified revenue sources for Mozilla. While some of this is evident in the 2015 financials, the improvement will be more notable in 2016.

Powered by Mozillians

All of the work Mozilla does is made possible by the global community of people we call Mozillians. Mozillians are employees, volunteers, partners and anyone who contributes their time and work to Mozilla. Volunteer Mozillians do everything from localizing Firefox to submitting patches, working on code, supporting marketing, evangelism, advocacy and education efforts. We are proud of our diverse and passionate global community and would like to thank the thousands of people who help support the Mozilla mission every day.

Mozilla invests in a new generation of leaders who will ensure the next wave of access, inclusion and opportunity online. Our Mozilla Leadership Network finds, connects and provides learning opportunities for individuals devoted to the open web. Mozilla also held MozFest — the annual flagship event that convenes digital educators and activists, and is made possible with many volunteers running the program. At MozFest, all attendees are active participants, helping to identify and empower new leaders of the global internet health movement. Technologists, activists and educators from around the globe donate their time and talent to lead hundreds of interactive sessions.

Mozilla’s investment in young leaders also includes a series of fellowships focused on bringing open source approaches into new places. In 2015, we expanded this work through a partnership with Ford Foundation. In 2015, the inaugural cohort of Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows were embedded at organizations like the ACLU and Amnesty International, working on issues like digital inclusion, privacy and equality online. Mozilla also continued to support fellows and invest in young leaders in partnership with allies such as Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Building the Future

In 2017, Mozilla will continue our investments in product development with a focus on more mobile products including connected devices experiments and Firefox mobile products like those recently launched (Firefox for iOS, Firefox Focus private browser). We will test and launch new features through the Test Pilot program and we’ll build the Context Graph as the recommender system for the web because we believe that developing an understanding of browser activity at scale unlocks the next generation of web discovery on the internet. Mozilla will continue to promote open standards and contribute to new web technologies (like Servo and Rust with Project Quantum) to meet the increasing performance and security needs as the internet grows and evolves.

In 2017, Mozilla will expand our work in protecting the health of the internet through policy, advocacy, education and products. We will launch our first Internet Health Report, a thorough, compelling examination of the state of the open internet. Through both data and narrative features, our inaugural report will unpack internet health through the lenses of privacy and security, web literacy, digital inclusion, decentralization and open innovation.

Mozilla will continue to fuel the larger open internet movement. Wielding advocacy campaigns and educational tools and curriculum, Mozilla will work alongside allies in the realms of technology, civil society and journalism to build a powerful and effective movement.

Our mission is to enable the internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all. This mission is as important now as it has ever been. We urge everyone who is interested to find a way to contribute, whether through Mozilla or other organizations. We hope reading this gives you insight into the power of Mozilla to deliver on our mission. We invite you to download Firefox or volunteer to be part of Mozilla. Learn more at