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Mozilla creates start-up to recruit email developers

Thunderbird is go

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Mozilla plans to replicate the success of its Firefox web browser in the email and communication market with the creation of a new firm.

The as-yet-unnamed business will develop internet communications software based on the Thunderbird product, code, and brand. The new initiative aims to nurture an open source developer community, in the tradition of the Firefox web browser, but focused on email and communication clients. Whether this development work will include the creation of instant messaging software and the like isn't immediately clear.

Mozilla is injecting $3m in seed funding to kickstart the business.

Dr David Ascher, currently CTO and VP engineering of ActiveState, will join Mozilla to establish a new mail-focused company. Ascher has a long history of involvement with the Mozilla Project and the open source community more generally, most notably as a director of the Python Software Foundation and a lead developer in Mozilla's Komodo project.

Thunderbird, the email client companion of Firefox, has never enjoyed the profile or success of its more popular older sibling. Mozilla has been consulting its community about how to turn this around since July. After this consultation, the Mozilla Foundation board approved the creation of a distinct new Mozilla Foundation subsidiary dedicated to developing, innovating, and improving internet mail and communication software. Instead of proceeding as a subsidiary Mozilla has decided to create a new firm with a distinct identity.

More on the initiative in a statement from Mozilla here. ®

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