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Mozilla is doing just fine

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The Firefox browser once had a tight bond with Google, not so much today. Mozilla is doing just fine without the millions of dollars it once pulled in from Google.

The developer behind the widely used Firefox browser said recently that it no longer relies on Google for its revenue and is confident new search-engine deals will bring in even more money.

For years, Google in effect sponsored Mozilla by paying for Web searches launched through Firefox. In 2014, the deal accounted for most of the nonprofit organization’s $330 million in revenue, according to financial results released for that year.

Mozilla, based in Mountain View, California, ditched the global Google deal at the end of last year, moving instead to regional deals with other search engine companies, notably Yahoo in the United States, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. Now, Mozilla gets no revenue at all from Google, even though Google is still the default search engine for Firefox users in Europe.

For Mozilla, more competition means giving consumers increased choices when they access information and services online. The online world has pushed beyond the PC, expanding to mobile experiences tightly controlled by companies like Apple and Google. A self-reliant Mozilla would help make it harder for those giants to abuse their positions of power by, for example, skewing search results in their own favor or blocking access to content from rivals.

Google and Mozilla often are allies, each seeking to make the Web better for activities like e-commerce, blogging, social networking, news publishing and communication. The tight financial relationship is unusual given how often Google was at odds with Mozilla’s mission to ensure people have choices in their online activities. Google maintains tight control over its Android smartphone software and its many linked services such as Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Music and Google Docs.

Mozilla is holding it’s own financially and expects to keep doing so without Google’s money. Its revenue for 2014, based on a recent tax file, came in at $330 million, up from $314 million in 2013. Mozilla is a nonprofit organization that doesn’t operate like Google, Microsoft and Apple, its biggest competitors in the browser market. Mozilla does however pay attention to keeping the lights on and recruiting talent.

It had about $270 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2014, a $20 million increase from a year earlier. It now employs about 1,000 people worldwide, boosted by the work of more than 10,000 volunteers. Mozilla’s search-related income is based on a combination of fixed payments and revenue that depends on the traffic that Firefox generates.

The Firefox browser has had an OS strategy shift. In the smartphone realm, Mozilla has been trying to combat the dominance of Google’s Android and Apple’s competing iOS with its own mobile operating system, Firefox OS. Mozilla’s strategy had been to spread the software to lower-end phones in developing markets that hadn’t yet undergone the smartphone revolution. However, Chris Beard, who took over as Mozilla’s chief executive in 2014, concluded earlier this year that the plan wasn’t working. The new mobile goal is to spread Firefox OS to enthusiasts.

Now, Android phone users can install a version that runs as an Android app or, for those feeling more experimental; completely replace Android with Firefox OS. That effort also includes a version of Firefox for Android phones and, as of two weeks ago, Firefox for Apple’s iOS. Because of Apple’s rules, though, Firefox for iOS is built with Apple’s browser technology at the core, which means Mozilla can’t use it to advance the Web standards it believes are important.

Mozilla has been saying for years that it is trying to boost its mobile efforts, but it has not had much to show. On smartphones, its share of browser usage is virtually nonexistent. Firefox OS is equally absent among mobile operating systems. Mozilla has helped advance Web technology for mobile devices, though. Even if that doesn’t necessarily directly help Firefox, the tech can aid the Web itself when other browser makers embrace the standards.

Despite challenges, Mozilla remains committed to its core mission. Even if people do not seem to fret about the degree of control Apple and Google exercise over them today, that can change, as it did a decade ago when Firefox showed the world there was a desirable alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Mozilla’s place in the browser world seems a bit complex for now, but it’s persistence is enough to take it far.

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BOSJE elevates jazz education in Botswana

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CHANGING LIVES: Music has the power to empower youth.

The Botswana Society of Jazz Education (BOSJE) will host the 9th annual International Jazz Day for the 3rd time this year at the Maitisong theatre. According to the founding chairperson Akhutlheng Mogami, the society was formed to create a platform for jazz musicians and aspiring jazz musicians to grow and share ideas and even have their work documented.

“As a society, we have realized a need for jazz education. There is also no documentation about jazz in Botswana, which makes it difficult for both the teachers and students when it comes to teaching and learning about jazz as there is no local content to refer to. It is also for purposes of funding applications to run workshops and host festivals and exchange programs that we needed to have a legally registered nonprofit making entity as this one,” she said.

BOSJE was officially registered on the 31st of August 2015 with the registrar of societies and some its objectives include to ensure the growth of Jazz in Botswana and development of jazz education; to build jazz community by advancing education and research; to document, preserve and archive our Botswana jazz heritage; to promote skills development and performance through jazz camps, exchange programs and jazz shows and festivals, and to also develop new audiences.

In January 2017 the society formed a youth jazz big band (Big Bands). Mogami noted that they managed to bring together young people from all walks of life to teach them about jazz and how to play jazz. Since then, the band has been growing substantially both musically and professionally. She noted that The Big Bands in Botswana project which aims to put together jazz bands in schools and communities all over the country. “The project brings together young people and teaches them to play music in an ensemble set up.

The project commenced on the 15th of February 2019 with the primary objective of this project is to bring positive social change through music. Children who are involved in this music program receive a music education, which we believe will lead them to improved overall academic success. The children will also learn the essential skills needed for the 21st century workforce.

In addition to that, these children will also have a platform to exercise their creativity, and all this will in turn grow their confidence.” The band has graced the Masire foundation annual gala dinner, International Jazz Day, Annual De Beers sight holders Dinner, and Gaborone toastmasters among others.

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Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego drop love sin gle

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NEW OFFERING: Benson & Diva Vebrok’s listening session rocked

Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego recently released their joint single titled Ha o ka leba. The two launched the song at a listening session at Greenberry Gardens. Music artists including Nono, Franco and promoters PP and Gloria Dzwikiti as well as other industry role players flocked the venue to listen to what the two have to offer and they were not disappointed.

The single is good quality – from the melody, lyrics, rthyme and production. The divine diva Diva Vebrok adds a golden touch with her smooth voice while the bold and eloquent Phutego’s voice complements hers as he breaks out into poetry.

Director of ceremony at the listening session Berry Heart also kept the crowd galvanised throughout the night with her energetic spirit. President of Music Promotions Zenzele Hirschfield expressed appreciation for the support rendered to the two and highlighted that it is important for artists to support one another. “I am honoured to see that that many people in the local music industry have come out to support their fellow artists.

This means a lot and we really need to unite as artists all the time,” she said. She sang praises for Diva Vebrok who she said was passionate and hard working. “She is more than just an artist but also an influencer and entrepreneur. She is one of the women in the music industry who work hard and never give up on their craft,” she said.

Phutego impressed the crowd with his words of wisdom as he appreciated being featured by Ve brok on the single. “It was great working with her as she is passionate and hard working. Women are the pillars of society and as such they should be respected. I have no regrets about this project because I am confident that we produced a great love song.”

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