Mozilla Goes Mainstream
In an open source world that's increasingly straying from idealistic roots in a bid to lure venture capital money, the Mozilla Corporation is something of a standout. Its mission: to make the Internet a better place.
It was the summer of 2004, and a group of 10 techies huddled together in an office in Mountain View, Calif., facing a daunting task. They had embarked on an ambitious effort to create a Web browser that could go mano a mano with Microsoft's Internet Explorer. However, having spent much of the US$2 million that got them off the ground, they lacked the budget to build a mass consumer brand.
So they decided to take a marketing gamble. This group, who would later form the Mozilla Corporation, was comprised of die-hard believers in the so-called "open source" method of software development, where power to shape programs is ceded to a vast army of developers rather than small teams of corporate engineers. Could that same ethos, they wondered, be harnessed to build a brand?
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