As expected, Mozilla has launched a new subsidiary company, called Mozilla Messaging, which will focus on developing the next version of its free, open-source Thunderbird e-mail software. According to the company, Thunderbird 3.0 is due to ship by the end of the year with a more comprehensive search feature and official integration of the Lightning calendar add-on.

Mozilla Messaging will continue using the open source model in work, maintaining a small product development team to work with contributors from around the world. Moreover, the subsidiary’s name reflects some of its ambitions: to go beyond email. Though Thunderbird already can handle RSS feeds and newsgroups, Mozilla Messaging CEO David Ascher said its goal is for Thunderbird to work with instant messaging, mobile phone text messaging, and sites like Facebook that have their own email systems.