Firefox In Peril While Mozilla Rewards CEO
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 27 December 2023

Although the rate of decline has decreased, Firefox has continued to experience a fall in its number of users during 2023 and is now in imminent danger of another nail in its coffin.  UPDATE: CEO Mitchell Baker's total compensation package for 2022 was almost $7 million dollars, up by 23% on the previous year.

Looking first at the bigger picture as provided by StatCounter, Firefox was at its zenith in November, 2009 when it had a  32% share of the worldwide browser market and was the second most popular browser. At that time Internet Explorer dominated with 56% and the infant Chrome, which already had 5%, had started on its unstoppable rise. As can be seen in the chart, while Chrome's share increased both Firefox and IE lost out: 

 statcounter2009

In 2016 again became the second most popular desktop browser and retained that status until it was overtaken by Edge in 2020. Notice however the huge gap between Chrome and the rest: 

statcounter2019

According to StatCounter Firefox currently has a 3.2% share of the Worldwide browser market across all devices. However, according to analytics.usa.gov, its share in the United States is only 2.2%.

US Gov analytics

The reason for drawing attention to this breakdown is that, in the United States, the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) which provides a comprehensive set of standards relating to government websites states:

. . . we officially support any browser above 2% usage as observed by analytics.usa.gov.

As Bryce Wray, in his blog post Firefox on the brink?, points out this 2% rule originated in the UK, a region in which Firefox has only a slightly better share of 2.5% putting its position in jeopardy there as well.

If you experience deja vu reading this news item you are not mistaken. In Firefox Loses Users and Websites, published August 2022, I reported the negative impact on Firefox Monthly Active User numbers of MBNA the Canadian Credit Card no longer letting its card holders log in with Firefox. Let's hope that even when websites no longer HAVE TO support Firefox, and therefore have to test updates and bug fixes which is a not insignificant burden, they will in fact continue to support it in recognition of the benefits of having multiple alternatives to Chrome.

We have also previously pointed out the mismatch between Firefox's fortunes and those of the Mozilla senior management, in particular in Firefox Use Slumps 85% Executive Pay Soars 400%. Although the Mozilla 2022 Audited Financial Statement, published in the latest, 2023, State of Mozilla Report doesn't call for so dramatic a headline it does raise questions about Mozilla's priorities.

While total revenue was $593 million, around 1% less than in 2021, expenses had gone from $339 million in 2021 to $425 million, an increase of 20%. Software Development, which accounted for almost half of expenditure, was up by less than 10%, while Branding and Marketing rose by over 100% and General and Administrative costs were up by 25%.

Despite the small drop in revenue, total Salaries and Benefits paid out by Mozilla in 2022 were $284 million, up from $237 million in 2021, an increase of 20%.

M Baker

In 2021 Mitchell Baker, who is both CEO of Mozilla Corporation and Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, had a total compensation package of  $5,626,926 comprising a base salary of $1,350,000, a bonus of $2,600,000, and other compensation of $676,926.

UPDATE: In 2022 her "reportable compensation" as recorded in the Mozilla Foundation's Tax Return for the year ending December 31st, 2022 was $6,903,089 with a further $31,513 in "other compensation".

So in a year which saw a 6% decline in Firefox Monthly Users from 206 billion to 193 billion, the CEO who should take ultimate responsibility for it had a 23% pay increase  which leaves me feeling a bit uncomfortable. I always assumed that CEOs were rewarded for success not failure.

 

firefoxquantum

More Information

Firefox on the brink?

Related Articles

Edge Becomes Second Most Popular Desktop Browser

Firefox Loses Users and Websites

Edge Overtakes Safari To Be Second Browser

Firefox Use Slumps 85% Executive Pay Soars 400%

Mozilla Layoffs and Change of Focus

Leaked Mozilla Tax Return Causes Furore

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