David Ascher, announced today the launch of Mozilla Messaging, Inc., a fully-owned Mozilla Foundation subsidiary (hence, sister of Mozilla Corporation) dedicated to advancing Internet messaging.
As announced and discussed before, Mozilla is aiming to develop the Internet messaging area as well as the web browsing side and after years of developing Firefox and Thunderbird as Mozilla Corporation corporation, they found competition of both products for human, time and technological resources was slowing both products’ development.
On July last year, Mitchell Baker, then Mozilla Corporation’s CEO, announced that they would look for other organizational options for Thunderbird. Discussion ensued and a couple of months later it was decided that a subsidiary (nicknamed MailCo) would be created and led by David Ascher, with an initial $3 million in funding.
In the following months, David led the effort to make the subsidiary a reality while catching up with the present status of Thunderbird, now Mozilla Messaging’s base product, exploring ways to attain financial sustainability, and hiring, a critical task especially after Thunderbird’s main developers suddenly leave Mozilla a few weeks after the announcement of the subsidiary.
Mozilla Messaging board is integrated by David Ascher; Christopher Beard, VP and General Manager, Mozilla Labs; and Marten Mickos, CEO of open source database vendor MySQL AB.
In the press release, Marten, is described as an old friend of Mozilla with plenty of high management experience. Sun, which recently acquired MySQL AB, is also an important contributor to the Lightning project, a Thunderbird extension that adds calendaring capabilities, and will be integrated with Thunderbird 3, targeted for later this year.
In a blog post, David Ascher, who will report to Mozilla Messaging board of directors only, provides some details on the spirit of Mozilla Messaging as a project as well as some details of his short and long term vision. A few quotes:
Anyone can and should participate in helping fix whatever is broken is a key tenet of the Mozilla project. It has structural implications for how we build companies, and, I believe, itâ€™s a key advantage compared to all the other companies who are tackling the nest of issues that entangle internet communications.
Iâ€™m extremely proud of the people who have alread chosen to help, signing on as board members, employees and contractors, or as volunteer contributors. If you get to interact with them, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll understand why. Each of them combine deep competence in some aspect of building a great software company, understands that to succeed we must be part of a broader community, and subscribes to the Mozilla vision of what the internet could and should be.
I think everyone in Mozilla has helped in some key way, starting with legal & recruiting, through engineering, QA, build, marketing, and PR, and finishing, late at night, with IT.
Email is broken. What are you going to do about it?
Sounds like an ambitious and motivated team to me and I look forward for what they may deliver in coming months. Best luck and success to all of them!