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Mozilla laying off part of Connected Devices team after death of Firefox phones

Mozilla laying off part of Connected Devices team after death of Firefox phones

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Mozilla is laying off a portion of its Connected Devices team, which worked on Firefox OS and Firefox phones before recently shifting over to more experimental products. When asked about layoffs by The Verge, Mozilla's senior vice president of Connected Devices, Ari Jaaksi, confirmed that the company has "made the decision to reduce the size" of the team. Jaaksi says that a "small" number of employees have been impacted, some of whom may be moved into positions elsewhere in the company.

Connected Devices is supposed to act like a startup within Mozilla

The layoffs follow Connected Devices' move away from Firefox phones, which failed to gain traction and were ultimately killed in December. Mozilla has since said that it would use parts of Firefox OS to build Internet of Things devices; that includes putting Firefox OS on TVs. VentureBeat reported in December that the team was looking at putting Firefox OS on a TV streaming stick, a router, and a Raspberry Pi computer built into a keyboard.

The Connected Devices unit is meant to "emulate a tech start-up culture," putting small amounts of resources toward many different projects as it searches for an idea that's strong enough to see to completion. Mozilla says that its layoffs are meant "to support this new product strategy and innovation process."

Jaaksi's full statement is below:

"We recently shifted our Firefox OS strategy to focus on exploring the IoT market and identifying Connected Devices experiments through a gated innovation process to help us test early-stage ideas. To support this new product strategy and innovation process, we have made the decision to reduce the size of the Connected Devices team. While the number of individuals impacted is small, our first priority is to make sure every employee affected is taken care of. We are working with each individual to find a new role at Mozilla or provide them with an exit package including severance, benefits coverage and professional outplacement services."