Mozilla, the software company behind the Firefox browser and Firefox OS, has appointed Brendan Eich as its new CEO, replacing acting CEO Jay Sullivan who took on the role in the midst of a leadership shakeup.
Speaking as new CEO on the Mozilla blog, Eich said: "A quick note to update everyone on Mozilla news. Our Board of Directors has appointed me CEO of Mozilla, with immediate effect. I’m honored and humbled, and I promise to do everything I can to lead Mozilla to new heights in this role.
"Mozilla is about people-power on the Web and Internet — putting individual users, who create as well as consume, above all other agendas. In this light, people-fu trumps my first love, which you might say is math-fu, code-fu or tech-fu (if I may appropriate the second syllable from kung fu). People around the world are our ultimate cause at Mozilla, as well as source of inspiration and ongoing help doing what we do."
He has been at the heart of Mozilla technical effort from the start
Over the years, Firefox has done wonders of the world of the web. Firefox, tabbed browsing and HTML5 are all fruit borne of Mozilla’s push for a better web and sitting at the helm of all of that was Eich, so who better to take the lead? Eich has a vested interest in Mozilla, and that is proven by his long career and loyalty to the company, so we know that whatever decisions he takes now will be, in his heart anyway, the correct choices for Mozilla.
Eich will focus on Firefox OS
"It’s like the great circus act — spinning plates while doing back handsprings, and we are definitely turning mobile in the only way that can be really effective. The highest priority is to get volume to Firefox OS, especially the $25 phones.," Said Eich in an interview with CNET.
"To get developer and user volume, we can go after not only smartphones at the really low end, and we can also mature upward. It’s like a wedge going upwards and downwards. You already saw at Mobile World Congress that there will be better devices over time."
Mozilla is striving to cement its place in the emerging mobile market, and with Firefox OS, the company has a real shot and making some in-roads to severing its reliance on Google.
Unfortunately, Eich’s appointment has not come without its fair share of controversy. Two years ago, a storm erupted on the Twittersphere after it was revealed that in 2008, Eich had donated $1000 to supporting Proposition 8 – that is – the banning of gay marriage in the state of California. Twitter came alive last night, again, with reminders of Eich’s questionable past.
Two developers, Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael, have chosen to boycott Mozilla after the decision.
"Today we were shocked to read that Brendan Eich has been appointed Mozilla CEO. As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization", said Hampton Catlin to betanews.com.
Catlin penned this open letter to Mozilla, reinforcing the boycott:
As a married gay couple who are co-founders of this venture, we have chosen to boycott all Mozilla projects. We will not develop apps or test styles on Firefox anymore.
Effective today, we’re removing Color Puzzle from the Firefox Marketplace and stopping work on all of our Firefox-related applications, notably the about-to-launch Firefox version of the popular Dictionary! app for iPhone and Android.
This is in protest of the appointment of Brendan Eich to the position of CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, where he had previously served as CTO.
We will continue our boycott until Brendan Eich is completely removed from any day to day activities at Mozilla, which we believe is extremely unlikely after all he’s survived and the continued support he has received from Mozilla.
This makes us very sad, as we love the little guy fighting to make things better. But it’s because of our status as a minority that we simply can’t ignore this slap in the face of giving him a promotion to lead your organization.
It’s going to be interesting to say the least to see how Mozilla and Eich respond to this renewed criticism, if they respond at all.