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Mozilla Acquires Pocket and Its More Than 10 Million Users (recode.net) 82

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, is buying Pocket, the read-it-later service, for an undisclosed amount. Pocket, which is described by Mozilla as its first strategic acquisition, will continue to operate as a Mozilla subsidiary. Founder Nate Weiner will continue to run Pocket, along with his team of about 25 people. Pocket, previously known as Read It Later, lets users bookmark articles, videos and other content to read or view later on the web or a mobile device. It's great for things like saving offline copies of web articles to read on plane rides or subway commutes, especially where internet access is sparse. Pocket, which was founded in 2007, has more than 10 million monthly active users, according to a rep. That's not bad, but suggests it's still a fairly niche service, especially as big firms like Facebook and Apple build simple "reading list" features into their platforms.
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Mozilla Acquires Pocket and Its More Than 10 Million Users

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  • by ToTheStars ( 4807725 ) on Monday February 27, 2017 @05:32PM (#53941801)
    What does this have to do with making a simple, secure, extensible browser? I can understand wanting to diversify revenue sources away from corporate handouts, but how much money can a minor social network be making if even the giants (e.g. Twitter) are struggling to make ends meet?
    • It's Love! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2017 @05:47PM (#53941921)

      If feels like someone at Mozilla is deeply in love with the Pocket founder. First, they integrated Pocket into Firefox in what seemed little more than an attempt to leverage the browser to bring more business to Pocket. I don't know how well that went, but now they're delivering him a very sweet Valentine's Day gift of a (presumably) large pot of money to keep on doing what he was doing before.

      Love doesn't have to be rational, and Pocket doesn't have to advance the goals of Firefox.

      • I don't know how well that went

        Me neither, but I do know that when they did that, it was the first time I got the feeling from Firefox that I get from IE and Chrome: that the browser has become actively hostile to me.

    • What does this have to do with making a simple, secure, extensible browser?

      That's easy: They can now broadcast to Pocket users not using FireFox: Pocket(TM) works best with FireFox(TM)! -- while making sure that Pocket works sub-optimally with other browsers.

    • by xfizik ( 3491039 ) on Monday February 27, 2017 @06:38PM (#53942309)
      Read The Mozilla manifesto [mozilla.org]
      Nowhere does it say anything about

      making a simple, secure, extensible browser

      In fact, it doesn't even say anything about a browser. Their mission is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web. Whether they are making any progress with that is up for debate, but it's silly to complain about the browser every time you see the word "Mozilla". Mozilla the organization is bigger than Firefox.

      • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

        No, it isn't. Or at least it shouldn't be. When their entire goal was to make a browser, they did good work. Everything since then has watered down their effort and caused them to lose focus on the one thing they absolutely needed to have win in order to achieve their goals. They should be completely shut down other than Seamonkey/Firefox.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Thunderbird is the primary competitor to Outlook. Web-based email portals are all a joke compared to client-side email programs. Killing Mozilla Thunderbird would be a hard blow to openness.

        • It's more like when there was no competition in the browser space they looked good by default. They were competing against an IE6 browser that'd been out of development for years. Now they're competing against weekly updates of Chrome, Edge, Safari and others.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Having a popular browser is the best way to achieve their goals. Look at how Google deprecated Flash by slowly removing it from Chrome. Or how they get to decide which technologies live or die by implementing them or not.

        If Firefox was 50% of the browser market and decided to, say, make WebGL and HTML Canvas access click-to-play they would break 50% of the browser fingerprinting that goes on and send a very clear statement that user privacy is important. Send a bogus font list in response to Javascript quer

    • Mozilla lost its way a while back, this is just further signs of the rott.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I think they have given up on being a popular browser.

      I used Pocket back when it was Read It Later. I found I would just add stuff to my list for reading one day, on the plane, and never do it. I'd load the laptop up with movies and then end up watching the in-flight entertainment. Might as well use /dev/null.

    • What does this have to do with making a simple, secure, extensible browser?

      What does making a simple, secure, extensible browser have to do with Mozilla?

    • I think this was a service they were trying to embed into their browser before they bought them. I think they want to make the service a browser feature like remembering bookmarks and passwords across computers.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The classic example of a company in its terminal stages; management pumps money out of it to their friends pockets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2017 @05:48PM (#53941925)

    Never heard of it.

  • Donations (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Did they pay for this with the money they received from donations?

    • Re:Donations (Score:4, Informative)

      by jopsen ( 885607 ) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Monday February 27, 2017 @07:25PM (#53942615) Homepage
      No, Foundation and Corporation are different entities. Corp is owned by Foundation... but as I understand it there are some legal/tax constructs limiting movement of funds from Corp to Foundation, so it's not the same dollar.
      • You are hungry and need to buy food. You are also a drug addict.

        You get a government handout expressly for buying things you need (food), and not things you don't (drugs). You also have some amount of your own money.

        You need food so you simply spend out the government's money on food.
        All other money you have is available to cover any shortfall in need on the food side OR your drugs.

        Despite the restriction, the handout still enables you to spend more money on the restricted thing.
        Worse, if the handout is i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would people please stop leaving comments about how terrible Mozilla is. It's like watching a child poking a dying animal with a stick.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Someone else to steal our original content, strip away the ads and make it available to a select audience while profiting on it. Great.

  • by NiteRiderXP ( 750309 ) on Monday February 27, 2017 @06:40PM (#53942321)

    1. Open new tab
    2. Type about:config in address bar and accept warning
    3. In the search box type pocket
    4. Toggle extensions.pocket.enabled to false

    I do this for all new Firefox installations. Also disabled hello (aka loop) until they removed it.

  • Too much money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Monday February 27, 2017 @09:02PM (#53943133)
    Does Mozilla has too much money in its hands? There is a lot of room for improvement of Firefox itself, that should be the priority.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 27, 2017 @10:35PM (#53943521)

    Does this mean Pocket will be open source now?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. That is the plan, according to this Mozilla employee: https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/5wio45/mozilla_acquires_pocket/deadcf7/

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun