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Fired Up Over A Hot Browser

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Even though Mitchell Baker was fired from her role overseeing a struggling software project in 2001, she wasn't about to quit.

Two years earlier, Baker had been put in charge of the newly created Mozilla Organization, a unit of Internet pioneer Netscape Communications.

Netscape had launched the Web browser market and sparked the dot-com era with its initial public offering in 1995. The company was acquired by AOL in 1998 for $4.2 billion, but its best days were over. Netscape's Navigator browser was collapsing under the weight of Microsoft's (MSFT) entry into the market with Internet Explorer.

Mozilla was a radical project that AOL had neglected. Amid the tech collapse of 2001, Baker got the ax yet refused to leave.

"Executives were stunned a week later when they learned she was still working on the project and making phone calls," said Brendan Eich, Mozilla's chief technology officer. "She could do that because Mozilla had become a community project. It was no longer a Netscape creature."

The result is Firefox.

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