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State of Mozilla 2016

The State of Mozilla 2016 is our annual report. This report highlights activities for 2016 and is accompanied by detailed financials. This report is released when we submit the Mozilla non-profit tax filing for the previous calendar year.

Harnessing the Power of the Internet for Public Good

Billions of people depend on an open and accessible internet for knowledge, livelihood, and self-expression. It’s nearly impossible to imagine modern life without it. Billions more deserve the same chance.

Mozilla works to harness the power of the internet for the public good. That’s why as a not-for-profit, Mozilla supports technologies and products, like Firefox, and leaders and citizens across the globe to make the internet healthier — easier to access, safer to use, and more empowering for everyone, everywhere.

Guided by the principles of the Mozilla manifesto we focus the energy of thousands of Mozillians (employees, allies, volunteers) to influence the key issues impacting the health -- and future -- of the internet. Motivated by creating public benefit versus commercial gains, Mozilla is able to do the work that others won't, as both a guardian of the internet and an advocate of people's online lives.

How Mozilla Operates

Mozilla is not your average organization. Founded as a community open source project in 1998, Mozilla is structured as two organizations: the 501(c)3 Mozilla Foundation, which backs emerging leaders and mobilizes citizens to create a global movement for the health of the internet; and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, which creates products and explores new technologies that give people more control over their lives online and shapes the future of the internet for the public good. Each is governed by a separate board of directors. The two organizations work in close concert with each other and a global community of tens of thousands of volunteers under the single banner: Mozilla.

Mozilla is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. We want Mozilla to be a welcoming and productive place for everyone working towards our mission. We know we have a ways to go to fulfill this aspiration and we are committed to positive change. In 2016 and 2017 we launched programs and investments for our diverse employees and volunteer communities. These programs include education (how to understand and reduce bias, how to make it comfortable for more people to participate fully) and focus on reporting and enforcement. For example, Mozilla Corporation files an EEO-1 describing its employee base and voluntarily makes this document public annually.

Mozilla Corporation has just over 1,000 employees worldwide. We 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 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.

Mozilla Foundation’s programs are carried out by 80 employees and thousands of volunteers around the world. We also believe that attracting talent that is motivated, creative and passionate is crucial to the success of the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Foundation is benchmarked against similar-sized nonprofit organizations and socially oriented technology companies. Mozilla Foundation also seeks to align total compensation for its employees between individual and company performance.

This annual report provides an overview of activities from across Mozilla: including the social enterprise, market-based work of Mozilla Corporation; the philanthropic, social-movement efforts of Mozilla Foundation; and the vast and diverse activities of the broader Mozilla community.

Mozilla Corporation: Products & Emerging Technologies

Mozilla products are built to contribute to a healthy internet and deliver an amazing user experience. 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 health of the internet, our contribution to standards, and how we work to protect and build the web that users need and want.

With these broader aims in mind, Mozilla launched new Firefox products in 2016 across desktop and mobile platforms, with multi-process technology creating a faster experience for desktop users, as well as major updates of Firefox for iOS and Android. We also launched a new version of Firefox Focus for iOS (Firefox Klar in German-speaking countries) as a privacy focused browser that automatically blocks trackers. This work paved the way for the Android release of Firefox Focus in 2017.

We also invested in major experiments through programs like Firefox Test Pilot and Mozilla Emerging Technologies. These efforts help us to develop our new products in alignment with what our users seek, and help us to foster web technologies along with the technology community to further evolve the open web. These developments led to new features like Firefox Screenshots, with over 16 million screenshots created every month, and Activity Stream, which were all launched in the fastest Firefox yet, Firefox Quantum in November 2017.

Project Quantum powers the new Firefox, and was initiated in 2016 by combining the hard work of Quantum Flow with a new interface, Photon, and technologies like the Rust programming language and components of Servo such as Stylo and Webrender. Both Rust and Servo result from our long-term R&D investments for safety, performance, and interoperability in the web ecosystem.

The web platform took a major step forward in 2016 with new versions of WebAssembly and WebGL 2 released, enabling unheard of performance for web applications. Additional progress was made with AV1 and the Open Media Alliance to achieve a video codec that performs better than existing solutions. In addition, with A-Frame as a platform for developers & WebVR released in Firefox Nightly in 2016 and then in 2017 to all users, Mozilla contributed to a growing ecosystem that supports content creation that works across multiple platforms.

In 2016 Mozilla Corporation continued its relationship with Read It Later, Inc. the developers of Pocket. Pocket began as a Firefox Add-on nearly a decade ago and has become known as the world’s leading “save and read it later” solution across devices and platforms. Pocket currently has more than 10 million active monthly registered users and is integrated into hundreds of leading apps. The relationship deepened resulting in Mozilla Corporation acquiring Read It Later, Inc. in 2017. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Corporation with roughly 30 employees.

In all of our work in product and technology, transparency is a key part of how Mozilla gains and maintains trust in the global environment in which we work. As an open source project that relies on open development, we build transparency into the way we write our code - even working to open source the code that was acquired when Mozilla Corporation completed the acquisition of Read It Later, Inc. Additionally, we focus on describing how we handle user data not just in our privacy policy, but through “in context notices” to users as a way to create deeper opportunities for understanding and choice. With this transparency in mind, we publish bi­-annual transparency reports that help provide additional transparency to government disclosures and takedown requests.

Mozilla Foundation: Investing in Leaders and Mobilizing Citizens

As a complement to Mozilla's work in the market, Mozilla Foundation leads a series of philanthropic efforts to ensure the internet remains a force for public good. These efforts are driven by a global community of employees, volunteers, partners, allies, donors and supporters. In many ways, this community is akin to the early environmental movement: promoting the idea that the digital environment we live in should be open, accessible and healthy for all of us.

At the core of this work is Mozilla Foundation’s efforts to find, support and connect leaders with the talent, resources, drive and deep social connections to each other that are necessary to keep the internet healthy. Some of these leaders shape the world through code – they are engineers, data scientists, designers. Many are educators, journalists, scientists, activists or policy makers. All are using their craft to protect and enrich the health of the internet. In 2016, Mozilla invested $2.5M in fellowships and grants to leaders like these. This number will double to $5M in 2017.

The Mozilla Foundation is also focused on simplifying and humanizing issues related to digital life and making the concept of ‘a healthy internet’ mainstream. During late 2016 and early 2017, we developed the alpha version of the Internet Health Report as an initial beachhead for this effort. Designed as an open source, community project, we invited people to work with us on curating research, framing and writing the report. Grassroots leaders and researchers from around the world – as well as colleagues in the Mozilla Corporation policy and issue marketing teams – play a central role in this and other efforts to define and explain the most important internet issues of our day.

Finally, the Mozilla Foundation runs campaigns to educate and empower citizens across the web. In 2016, this included an education campaign on the critical role encryption plays in everyday internet life. Launched amidst the February 2016 Apple v. FBI case, campaign videos simplified complex online security issues for the public and the media. Over the course of 2016 and 2017, Mozilla also ran campaigns around the need for more creative, internet-friendly copyright in the European Union and on the continued importance of protecting net neutrality in the United States. In late 2017, Mozilla launched a ‘privacy not included’ holiday shopping guide reviewing toys and other electronics – this was a first step in a large scale plan for consumer engagement on data and privacy issues.

Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Foundation: Maintaining Sustainability

This annual report includes links to the detailed audited 2016 financial statements for Mozilla. Mozilla’s consolidated reported revenue (Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Corporation and all subsidiaries) for CY 2016 was $520M (US), as compared to $421M in 2015.

Mozilla Foundation philanthropic programs and activities are funded by public support from individual donors and foundations ($13.8M), as well as from royalties earned that are paid by the Mozilla Corporation ($8.3M). Total revenue and income support to the Mozilla Foundation in CY 2016 was $23.4M. Funds from individual donors and foundations are used to support agenda setting work like the Internet Health Report, campaigns such as ‘privacy not included’ and fellowships and awards for internet health leaders from around the world.

Mozilla Foundation and Subsidiary

Consolidating Statement of Activities and Change in Net Assets,
Year ended December 31, 2016.

Unrestricted Net Assets Mozilla Foundation Mozilla Corporation Eliminations Consolidated
Revenue and other support:
Royalties $8,349 $504,145 ($8,817) $503,677
Interest and dividend income $353 $2,665 $3,018
Net realized and unrelealized gain from investments $778 $72 $226 $1,076
Contributions $5,440 $5,440
Other $191 $191
Foreign currency exchange gain (loss) $48 ($488) ($801) ($1,241)
Loss of sale assets ($124) ($124)
Net assets released from restrictions $8,336 $8,336
Total unrestricted revenue and support $23,495 $506,270 ($9,392) $520,373

The majority of Mozilla Corporation’s revenue is from royalties earned through Firefox web browser search partnerships and distribution deals around the world. Mozilla Corporation’s revenue and income support for CY 2016 was $506M, as compared to $414M in CY 2015. Over the past several years, Mozilla has shifted from having one 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. In 2015 and 2016, we expanded this new global search strategy and secured new partnerships with DuckDuckGo, Google and Yahoo 1. In 2016, Mozilla Corporation began making strategic investments and acquisitions to further innovation by making a strategic investment in Cliqz GmbH (German-based provider of search and privacy tools) to enable innovation of privacy-focused search experiences. Mozilla Corporation continues this collaboration today with even more developments in 2017.

Revenue from Mozilla Corporation and donations to Mozilla Foundation are reinvested into advancing the Mozilla mission and protecting internet health, which means that all of our resources at Mozilla contribute to the overall sustainability and health of the internet.

1 In November 2017, Mozilla announced Google as the Firefox default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. This decision was made as part of our ongoing search strategy, announced in 2014 to evaluate and select the best search experience in each region as opposed to having a single global default.

Join Mozilla

Our mission is to ensure the internet is 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 to protecting the internet. We invite you to download Firefox or volunteer to be part of Mozilla or donate to support the work of internet health leaders around the world. Learn more at