Mozilla's PR statement:
As I shared in the internal message sent to our employees today, our pre-COVID plan for 2020 included a great deal of change already: building a better internet by creating new kinds of value in Firefox; investing in innovation and creating new products; and adjusting our finances to ensure stability over the long term. Economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted our revenue. As a result, our pre-COVID plan was no longer workable. Though we’ve been talking openly with our employees about the need for change — including the likelihood of layoffs — since the spring, it was no easier today when these changes became real. I desperately wish there was some other way to set Mozilla up for long term success in building a better internet.
Michael Tsai reports that most of the Servo team – tasked with revamping, improving and rewriting the rendering engine in Rust, indeed the explicit purpose for which Rust was invented – has been laid off.
Mozilla was, and is still for an indeterminate amount of time, the check and balance on Apple and on Google, the two remaining browser engine competitors. Both have perverse incentives to turn the web into their own platform, to make the web not compete with their own platform or make the web look like and behave like their own platform. Mozilla has often fronted technologies that advanced the web, be it adopting Microsoft's XMLHttpRequest as a native object or spearheaded CSS Grid and WebAssembly. The success and failure of web APIs and new developments are dependent on what this triumvirate decides; it's worth keeping the most independent, most pro-user vendor of the three a strong alternative.
I have no interest in most of Mozilla's offshoots like the Pocket app or iOS Firefox, but I will likely switch to Firefox and find a way to support them as a manner of principle. I should have done it much sooner.
As the Swedish saying goes, man saknar inte kon förrän båset är tomt; you don't miss the cow until the booth is empty.