Similar to what it did with Firefox a couple of years ago, the Mozilla Foundation has decided to spin Thunderbird off as a separate subsidiary. The as-of-yet-unnamed subsidiary will be given $3 million in seed funding and the sole task of shepherding Thunderbird's development.
Thunderbird hit the 2.0 milestone earlier this year and is available in over 35 languages on all the major platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. But in contrast to Firefox, which has seen its market share soar since its 1.0 release, Thunderbird has struggled to catch the attention of PC users around the world in the same way that Firefox has. Although Thunderbird is a solid, full-featured client, it faces competition from both free e-mail clients available from Microsoft and Apple as well as from webmail apps.
Mozilla Foundation CEO Mitchell Baker first hinted at her plans for Thunderbird in July. With the announcement, the Foundation hopes to energize Thunderbird development and adoption by giving it its own home within the Foundation. In a post on her blog, Baker says that the seed funding will be used primarily to attract talented people "who are passionate about e-mail and Internet communications."
News source: ArsTechnica