TBird’s Future Looking Brighter

In late July there was a lot of talk about Thunderbird’s Future as Mozilla was looking at options to split off or even possible drop Thunderbird. The future is looking a lot brighter now for Thunderbird. Mitchell Baker has announced…

The result is that Mozilla is launching a new effort to improve email and internet communications. We will increase our investment and focus on our current email client — Thunderbird — and on innovations in the email and communications areas. We are doing so by creating a new organization with this as its sole focus and committing resources to this organization. The new organization doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll call it MailCo here. MailCo will be part of the Mozilla Foundation and will serve the public benefit mission of the Mozilla Foundation. (Technically, it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, just like the Mozilla Corporation.)

Mozilla will provide an initial $3 million dollars in seed funding to launch MailCo. This is expected to be spent mostly on building a small team of people who are passionate about email and Internet communications. As MailCo develops it and the Mozilla Foundation will evaluate what’s the best model for long-term sustainability. Mozilla may well invest additional funds; we also hope that there are other paths for sustainability.

The goals of the new company are:

  • Take care of Thunderbird users
  • Move Thunderbird forward to provide better, deeper email solutions
  • Create a better user experience for a range of Internet communications — how does / should email work with IM, RSS, VoIP, SMS, site-specific email, etc?
  • Spark the types of community involvement and innovation that we’ve seen around web “browsing” and Firefox.

Finally, these last comments from Mitchell “One of the things I find most exciting about the Firefox work is the way people use Firefox to dream up what the web could be, and then go out and so something to make it happen. We can spark the same kind of excitement and energy level and innovation in the email/ communications space. And when we do, Internet life will get much, much better and much more interesting.”

There is so much potential for Thunderbird but the focus and the effort to make it happen were never there. It always seemed Thunderbird got pushed aside for for Firefox as that was where the common interest was. Having a team who’s common focus and goals are exclusively on Thunderbird is exactly what was needed to keep Thunderbird alive. Mozilla is taking a step in the right direction here.

News Source: Mitchell’s Blog

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