Mozilla Acquires Pocket Developer Read It Later

Mozilla makes its first acquisition, adding online bookmarking and sharing service Pocket to its roster.

Mozilla Pocket

On Feb. 27, Mozilla announced its first ever acquisition, announcing that it has acquired Read It Later Inc, which is best known for its Pocket technology that enables users to save, share and discover online links.

"We can't disclose details of this deal due to confidentiality reasons," Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Chief Business and Legal Officer at Mozilla, toldĀ eWEEK. "All members of the Pocket team are joining Mozilla."

She noted that no changes to the Pocket service or development roadmap are currently planned. Read It Later claims that it has over 10 million active monthly registered users that use the Pocket service.

Pocket is hardly a stranger to Mozilla, having been available as a Firefox plugin since 2007. The plugin was originally known by the company name Read It Later, with a name change in April 2012 for the service to Pocket. In June 2015, Pocket became directly integrated into the Firefox browser.

The basic idea behind Read It Later and Pocket is just as the name of the company implies, it is a service that enables users to read saved links later. In some respects, Pocket is similar to other types of other online bookmarking services that have been on the internet. Among the most notable approaches is Delicious, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, then sold to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in 2011. Delicious has been resold several times since 2011 and is currently owned by DomainerSuite.

The acquisition of Read It Later and Pocket is the first time Mozilla has ever made the decision to acquire a company, rather than just simply building technology on its own.

"We believe we can increase our impact and further our mission by building new products ourselves, partnering with others or buying products," Dixon-Thayer said. "This acquisition combines all three."

Dixon-Thayer added that technically Mozilla could have built or continued to partner with Pocket, but she noted that there is an opportunity cost to both.

"A strategic acquisition of Pocket made the most sense to meet our goals and further our mission," she said.

Mozilla at its core is an open-source organization, building applications on open-source code using an open collaborative model for development and participation. Pocket today is built with proprietary code, though that is likely to change in the future.

"The plan is to open source the Pocket code to make it part of the Mozilla open source project," Dixon-Thayer said.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.