Mozilla closed out 2023 with a report that dodges its flatlining browser market share and Mozilla.social beta in favor of calls for a faster pace from its highly paid CEO.

According to the company’s filings, Mitchell Baker’s compensation went from $5,591,406 in 2021 [PDF] to $6,903,089 in 2022 [PDF]. It’s quite the jump considering that revenues declined from $527,585,000 to $510,389,000 in the same period [PDF].

Despite the executive payout, Firefox continues to trail Google and even Microsoft in desktop browser market share. While it has not suffered any catastrophic losses, neither has it made any significant gains.

Baker, however, would very much like to speed things up and says in the State of Mozilla report: “The pace is not enough, the impact is not enough.”

Unsurprisingly for a technology company, the report is heavy on AI going mainstream where Mozilla reckons it can make an impact in the technology, particularly with regard to open source developers and privacy.

Mozilla’s adventures in AI? The organization says it has 15 engineers working on open source large language models and is working on use cases in the healthcare space. Moez Draief, managing director of Mozilla.ai, said: “There’s a lot of structured data work in that industry that will feed the language models; we don’t have to invent it.”

Earlier this year, Mozilla had to hit pause on its AI chatbot after the service served up a worrying amount of nonsense in response to user queries.

Chief product officer Steve Teixeira notes in the report the rapid growth of AI and social networks, although warns that Mozilla.social is unlikely to move beyond the experimentation phase in 2024. He says that Mozilla would be “exploring ways to better integrate advertising while adhering to our focus on privacy and choice,” including web browsing.

Teixeira also acknowledged subscription services such as Mozilla VPN and Relay.

It will be interesting to see how Mozilla picks up the pace in 2024. As well as Teixeira’s comments regarding advertising, Baker notes: “We need to be faster in prototyping, launching, learning, and iterating … This requires rich data, and so we will be moving in that direction, but in a very Mozilla way.”

Surely not slurping telemetry?

According to the report, the “Mozilla way” is all about privacy, encryption, and keeping customer data safe. Hopefully, it will also be about innovation rather than scattering AI fairy dust over its product line. ®

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