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Tracking users

Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 9:45 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
In reply to: Tracking users by Zizzle
Parent article: Tracking users

Mozilla cares about it's mission more than the bottom line.

Surprisingly enough so does Google. They just have different missions. Mozilla's mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web. Google's mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Both are quite serious and are always ready to sacrifice bottom line if it jeopardizes core mission. But inherent difference in missions makes the decision considerations quite different.


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Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 13:28 UTC (Thu) by KaiRo (subscriber, #1987) [Link]

I would be careful when comparing "missions" that way.

As a for-profit corporation, Google by law has an obligation to provide the best possible profit to its shareholders, the "mission" you cite can merely be a tool for that for some time and has to be bent as far as possible or even broken when it has only a slight conflict with making profit for shareholders.

As a non-profit foundation, Mozilla by law has an obligation to stick by its mission or lose its status. There's no possibility to bend or break it and still comply with laws.

Therefore, I would not take Google's "mission" as much more than marketing but Mozilla's as a ground rule.

Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 15:44 UTC (Thu) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

Actually, Google is by law required to do what their shareholders say. If their shareholders say "this is your mission, keeping it is more important than quarterly profits", then that is what they have to do, and breaking it or even bending it slightly will send the directors and CEO to prison.

That said, I have no clue what the Google shareholders have ordered the Google board and CEO to do, I just want to point out that "corporation" does not necessarily equals "we'll do anything if we profit from it".

Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 17:11 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

If their shareholders say "this is your mission, keeping it is more important than quarterly profits", then that is what they have to do, and breaking it or even bending it slightly will send the directors and CEO to prison.

Well, not exactly. Breaking? Sure, that's serious offence. Bending it? Happens all the time. Of course in this particular case situation is slightly different.

That said, I have no clue what the Google shareholders have ordered the Google board and CEO to do, I just want to point out that "corporation" does not necessarily equals "we'll do anything if we profit from it".

Well, you guess is as good as mine but you should remember that over 50% of votes belong to just two shareholders: Brin and Page. This will not be true forever, obviously, but for a few more years it'll be very hard to convince shareholders to abandon Google's core mission.

Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 15:48 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

As a for-profit corporation, Google by law has an obligation to provide the best possible profit to its shareholders, the "mission" you cite can merely be a tool for that for some time and has to be bent as far as possible or even broken when it has only a slight conflict with making profit for shareholders.

Citation needed™.

If you talk about a fiduciary duty then note that it does not say that for-profit corporation should pump it's own stock as much as possible (to help speculators). Rather it says that "people in charge" should work on maximizing profits in principle. And if the core asset of your corporation is goodwill related to your core mission then you'll need enormous bottom line hit before you'll be able to force any changes contrary to said mission.

As a non-profit foundation, Mozilla by law has an obligation to stick by its mission or lose its status. There's no possibility to bend or break it and still comply with laws.

Of course there is! Without money or mindshare it's harder to follow on your mission and that means that you can easily justify small sacrifices for the greater good (precisely what we are discussing here, after all).

The are full specter of possibilities between Even shooting your father was business not personal, Sonny! and I have to finish what I started, even if I'm forced to do it alone! - and levels of dedication to the core mission in Google's and Mozilla's cases are closer then you think despite different legal status.

Tracking users

Posted Feb 16, 2012 18:49 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

even if the responsibility is to maximise profits, nothing in that says that it's to maximise _short_term_ profits. In fact, frequently things that maximise short term profits hurt you in the long term.

goodwill is one of those things that sacrificing for short term profits will hurt you in the long term.

In any case, the mission of a public company is not to make profits, it's to do whatever the company charter says the company does.

If the company charter says that the mission of the company is to break-even or produce a modest profit while producing the most public good, then the company is not a non-profit, but at the same time, if the company directors start making decisions to maximise profits they are working against the company charter and are in violation of the law.

Yes, some companies have their charter say that they are in business to make as much money as they can, but that's not all companies. In google's case there is the famous "Do no Evil" statement, and while there can be disagreement on exactly what that means, one thing that it clearly DOES mean is that google doesn't prioritise making money over every other consideration, and if any company directors started doing so, they are breaking the law.


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