Since September of last year, Mozilla Foundation had been considering the option of creating a special entity to take care of its e-mail client Thunderbird. They considered that after years of developing Firefox and Thunderbird as Mozilla Corporation, competition of both products for human, time and technological resources was slowing both products’ development.
A decision was finally taken. On Tuesday of this week, David Ascher announced the launch of Mozilla Messaging, Inc., a fully-owned Mozilla Foundation subsidiary (hence, sister of Mozilla Corporation) dedicated to advancing Internet messaging.
Mozilla Messaging Inc. will initially focus on developing Thunderbird 3, which aims at improving several aspects of the software, including integrated calendaring, better search, as well as enhancements to the overall user experience, the company said in a statement.
Mozilla Messaging Inc. will continue using the open source model in work, maintaining a small product development team to work with contributors from around the world on Thunderbird software.
David Ascher is the CEO of Mozilla Messaging Inc. and sits on its board of directors, which also includes Christopher Beard, vice president and general manager of Mozilla Labs, and Marten Mickos, CEO of open source database vendor MySQL AB recently acquired by Sun Microsystems Inc.
Mozilla Messaging Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation with an initial funding of $3 million.
I feel this organizational set up is highly beneficial to both Firefox and Thunderbird, since each product will be supported by a separate entity. In my opinion, Thunderbird will evolve into more than just an e-mail application (i.e., instant messaging, SMS, and possibly even VoIP).
I look forward for what they may deliver in coming months. Best luck and success to all of them!