By truly independent, I mean a browser with its own implementation of HTML, CSS, JS, etc; this kind of independence is critically important to the open Web, and the world, and hence Mozilla's mission.
...if you're willing to give up on engine independence you can save a lot of those expenses by adopting another vendor's engine, probably Chromium, and drafting off Google's investment. It's no surprise that for-profit companies would take that path, and that only Apple and Microsoft, companies with deep pockets and deep fear of Google, have declined to do so.
This is a great tldr-style breakdown of the components required to run an organization like Mozilla, which is "needed just to build Firefox".
There's also a response from Jason Laster (the same Jason Laster we talked to on episode #247) to Robert's tweet about this post saying:
It would be great to promote partnerships as an effective OSS strategy.