The Mozilla Foundation announced that it has started a new email-focused subsidiary in hopes that its mail client can become more viable in the face of mainstream competition.

Mozilla Messaging, which opened doors on Tuesday, will develop the open-source Thunderbird mail reader, focusing its efforts to deliver significant improvements and overall better user experience.

Of new coming features, the firm will also add an integrated calendar into its free software, leveling the playing field with the corporate standard email client, Outlook from Microsoft.

We're excited to renew the focus of our open source community on the future of Thunderbird, said David Ascher, CEO, Mozilla Messaging. Every one of us is committed to building a great email product that people will love to use and that serves as the foundation for choice in a critical area of Internet software.

The Mozilla Foundation is best known for creating the Firefox Web browser, a potent rival to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer. The firm hopes to replicate success as it polishes and upgrades its mail client, tapping into wide support in the open source community.

We'll do that by responding to user feedback, by incorporating key contributions from third party developers, by providing a streamlined user experience which lets people focus on the interactions they want to have with other people rather than with the software that's in front of them, Ascher said in his official blog.

The third iteration of Thunderbird will include an, improved search capabilities, easier configuration, among other things Ascher explained.

Mozilla Messaging is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation.