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Mozilla could be laying off as many as 50 employees as it shutters connected devices initiative

Mozilla could be laying off as many as 50 employees as it shutters connected devices initiativeMozilla has apparently run into roadblocks with its connected device initiative. The organization has not only dissolved the initiative but has also laid off as many as 50 employees. The initiative was an important part of the group’s attempt to break the shackles holding it to the niche of Internet browsers — a niche that had grown increasingly hostile to it with the advent of Chrome and Opera.

That the connected device initiative has been dissolved is a big blow to Mozilla. It could mean that the company’s initiative, that involved influencing how the Internet of things evolved and ensuring that it remained true to Mozilla’s own manifesto of “openness, accessibility, decentralization, interoperability, security, privacy and individual empowerment.” failed to find the purchase the company expected.

With an organization like Mozilla, which is basically non-profit, things can get a bit difficult at times. And that is actually sad because in the end, their focus is upon ensuring the betterment of technologies already existing in the market and the development of new ones. With Firefox for example, the foundation attempted to bring an open and secure browser to the market however, it mostly failed to keep up with Google Chrome and friends and its market share saw a sharp decline in recent years.

And now the iOT initiative is being shut down as well. While speaking with TechCrunch however, a Mozilla spokesperson said that the company was merely shifting its focus. As per the statement:

IoT is clearly an emerging technology space, but it’s still early. We have shifted our internal approach to the IoT opportunity to step back from a focus on launching and scaling commercial products to one focused on research and advanced development, dissolving our Connected Devices initiative and incorporating our IoT explorations into an increased focus on Emerging Technologies. This is much like our approach to Quantum which emerged from Servo/Rust.

Mozilla could also use the layoffs to ensure that all of its focus is now upon Project Quantum. If you remember, Quantum is the organization’s attempt to build Mozilla’s next-generation web engine. The engine is expected to get operational sometime near the end of 2017.

Quantum is all about making extensive use of parallelism and fully exploiting modern hardware. Quantum has a number of components, including several adopted from the Servoproject.

Quantum, which is written in the Rust systems programming language, is actually pretty interesting. Judging by the amount of interest and resources Mozilla is pulling from everywhere else and devoting upon Projet Quantum — it should be good. However, we will have to wait until the year end to discover just how good.
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