Does Google need Mozilla?

Does Google need Mozilla?

Summary: Does Google need to hand over millions of dollars to Mozilla in order to be Firefox's default search engine?

TOPICS: Google, Browser

Is Google's search deal with Mozilla over? According to some reports, Mozilla has declined to comment, according to others, the deal is still on. But a more important question is this one - Does Google need Mozilla?

It's clear that Mozilla needs Google. Back in 2010 a whopping 84% of Mozilla's $123.2 million revenue came from Google. Without the Google deal, it's hard to see how Mozilla could survive.

But does Google need Mozilla? More specifically, does Google need to hand over millions of dollars to Mozilla in order to be Firefox's default search engine?

I don't think so. Here are just a few reasons why:

When Firefox first came on the scene, its USP (Unique Selling Point) was that it was fast, lightweight and secure. However, over the years I've watched as the browser became bloated and encumbered with features that people don't really want. I've seen memory leak issues go unresolved months, sometimes years (some people still claim the browser has serious memory leaks). And when it comes to security, well, you're probably just as safe sticking to Internet Explorer (8 or 9) or going with Chrome.

It seems to me that Mozilla has steered Firefox into irrelevance.


Topics: Google, Browser

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  • Does Google Need Mozilla

    Let me admit I'd just die inside if the Firefox was to go the way of the dinosaurs and Netscape. This is one tremendous project.<br><br>What I'm unsure about is if Mozilla will survive sans Google. Is Bing and Microsoft really on the way up, or is this alliance just staving off inevitable death? It's hard to tell at present. One of the key things I see as a layman is a loyal community has kept Firefox going. Question is, for how long?<br><br>Over USD 100 million in lost revenue is a lot of moolah, especially seeing that Google seems the major contributor to Mozilla's coffers. I'm saddened while reading this by the day. I hope it doesn't make me turn fully to Google with it's frequent shockwave crashes and little or no choice (back to Internet Explorer dark ages). <br><br>A really sad read for this lay user of open source.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    If Opera has managed to survive thus far, I don't see Mozilla dissappearing entirely. But Chrome has certainly made Mozilla a less crticial piece of software than it used to be.
    • Opera has corporate deals though

      @dsf3g People forget Opera has corporate deals with Ford, Nintendo and they do other work for revenue. Mozilla unfortunately tries to go the open source way and does not have that many revenue options. If Google drops its relationship with Mozilla I think you will see mass layoffs and reduced developement.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    Just remember that the Firefox browser market share is still approx. 20-25%, depending on where one gets their stats. This represents a TON of users to reach with one's search engine and serve ads to.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Need? No. Want? Yes.

    Does Google need Mozilla? No, and they never really did. However, that doesn't mean that maintaining their relationship with Mozilla is a bad idea. Firefox may not be on the rise that it once was, but it is still a significant part of the browser landscape.<br><br>I use several browsers somewhat regularly (including Chromium, Arora, and Midori), but on up to date hardware, I still find myself using Firefox (8.0) the most. I've never been thrilled with Internet Explorer, and never really used it regularly (I went straight from Netscape to Mozilla 0.8.x; besides there's no IE for Linux). Chromium does some things better than Firefox (runs Youtube a little better on low spec hardware), but there are still things I like better about Firefox as well (doesn't use as many resources for additional tabs, searches on "/", still renders more sites properly).
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    It's blatant that Google does not need Mozilla. But I really hope Firefox survives and without selling out to anyone.<br><br>Chrome is awesome in a number of things. But I prefer Firefox's philosophy. Security for example, it's very hard to be anonymous using Chrome, they're unwilling to hand to end users the ability to not be under the radar of devices that need your info to provide you with ads.<br>Example, you might have heard of Ghostery, Adrian. Well I may be wrong on this, but strangely I've been having a hard time blocking Google Adsense and even Twitter Button, among others with Ghostery on Chrome, while on Firefox everything still works as it always has.<br>Extensions such as "HTTPS Everywhere" have no counterpart on Chrome. "Noscript" doesn't work as well. Etc.<br><br>I hope the guys at Mozilla will come with some ingenious campaign to raise money, because we need them.
    • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

      @cameigons You are absolutely correct. When used with the correct add-ons, Firefox is the hands-down winner when it comes to security. I will not change. I am an admin for 3 websites, and my analytics data shows about 40% share for Firefox, 45% share for IE and 5% share for Chrome. My websites are more Business to Business oriented, so my visitors are more on the professional side. For the data shown in this article to be true, Chrome must be huge with the consumer market.
      • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

        @j28n Agreed. I use Firefox/Aurora/Nightly and love the fact I don't have to worry about any sneaky phone home crap like you would with Google. I've told friends not to use Chrome unless they want malware and sure enough 2 friends of mine were dumb enough and picked up malware within 1 day of use. Getting them fixed and back on Firefox they've had no trouble since. There is a reason people recommend me is that I do what most other people in the IT industry can't... Think for themselves. I don't like Google's practices nor how they create their "software" although it usually is a cheap Hong Kong knock off of some real software that took years to develop. The fact everything they make is open and built to phone home makes it just that much easier for tech savvy to take advantage of stupid people. I look for a nice lean computer with no bloat nor crapware, all free solutions that pretty much take care of themselves where the user has little to no interaction with maintenance. Too bad so many people fall for the Google Chrome scam. Firefox will likely get support moving forward from Microsoft and Bing. They give them cupcakes all the time why the hell not? At least they can trust MS more then Google pretending to be friend and in the end be foe. Make their own browser with tech from some Mozilla employees and others only to rise up and drop Mozilla... F-Google. GFail I say.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    It's obvious that even though the deal is on with Mozilla, but it will not be renewed. That means: Google still pays Mozilla and does not dissolve the partnership, but it won't commit to do so for another 3 years (or for any fixed period of the time, for that matter), like it did the previous times.<br><br><br><br>Letting Mozilla completely down is not in the interest of Google, as that would force most now-Firefox-users to abandon Firefox - as the latter would begin to lag behind its comptetitors even more so than it does now -, and would force them to chose another browser instead. And that browser now could be just as well IE - so Google could practically drive market share to Microsoft this way. <br><br>Also, dropping support of Mozilla would also mean that Mozilla itself would also need to look for a new source of income - and Bing!, there comes Microsoft again in the picture as the most obvious one for that role. Which would not only mean that Microsoft would get indirect influence over Mozilla/Firefox, but also that Google would lose search market share to Bing/Microsoft - since the latter would obviously replace Google as the default start page and search engine in Firefox.<br><br>Both of these consequences are the last thing that Google needs, because that would mean Microsoft gaining influence over the web, again.<br> And that would cost Google far more than those few dozens or even hundred million dollars he's spending on Firefox right now. Not that he'd lose money on that anyway, as that money is just a share of ad revenue, which Google also makes money on/with.<br><br>So, Google's interest is still keeping Mozilla fed, at least to the point where it doesn't need to look for someone else. He can still drop support completely when Mozilla and Firefox with their ever shrinking market share become totally irrelevant in a few years.
    • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

      @ff2 I agree, it is in google's interest to shrink IE usage. The last thing google wants is for IE to become the monopoly browser again. That would give microsoft the ability to build something into IE that would slow or cripple google docs, google searches etc.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    Back to almost seamless 3.6 from from plug-in,flash whatever 8.0.1 related issues that cause freezes, delays loading pages. Second time I had to go back to 3.6 due to these issues. Will stay with 3.6 until after holidays because family likes Firefox then it is Chrome experiment for me (unless Firefox "nags" me to much to upgrade then I will just go). I see these issues on my home(Vista), work(XP) computers and a computer at a SONY store(7 I presume). SONY store computer had option for Firefox and Chrome. Some pages I use problematic on Firefox, great on Chrome at that store.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    Until about 5 years ago, Google wasn't just Firefox's primary financial sponsor, they also had a number of employees whose sole job was to work on Firefox. 5 years ago, those people stopped working on it. We now know that they went to go start work on Chrome, which would not only compete with Firefox, but to add insult to injury, was not even based on the Gecko codebase!

    Firefox -- and all serious Firefox supporters -- should feel betrayed by Google and stay as far away from them and Chrome as they can.
    • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

      @PB_z I didn't know there was such a thing as a serious Firefox supporter. (Mozilla is not Apple.) Myself, I try to use whatever works. I haven't quite warmed to Chrome yet, so I'm still mostly a Firefox user. Next week? Who knows.
    • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?


      Wow, I never knew this.

      Firefox rules when it comes to __usable__ extensions. It is so much easier to lock down from a security standpoint. Easy to use TOR and I2P with it, well haven't used I2P since FF 3.6 but don't see why it'd be any different with FF 8+. TOR even rolls there own Firefox browser with TOR and HTTPS Everywhere built in. Also Firefox's bookmarks are really nice to work with. I have over 3,000 and everything runs fine on my Win7 x64 PC.
      I also use Sandboxie for Firefox, I actually install a separate Firefox so I can have two different Firefox's running at the same time. Also created a separate Sandbox for the Aurora channel ones, rarely use but just curios what things they've changed. I tried installing Chrome to Sandboxie 9-12 months ago and it wouldn't let me. Yes I know Chrome has a sandbox within it, but if it was so great why do they need to update the security things all the time.

      I have Chrome on my PC, but I'm hesitant to use it because of all the tracking that it does, after I do I run CCleaner right away. With Win7 x64, newer install, Chrome shows up with many, many processes, all separate so it's really hard to tell how much RAM it really uses. It also crashes a fair amount. However after reading your post I am only interested in SRWare Iron if I'm going to use a Chromium product.

      If anyone wants to read up on the Memory issues and how their being addressed (yes they have problems, FF 4-7 were bad on this issue IMHO) I recommend reading this Mozilla Blog:
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    As long as I am free to choose which search engine I use, and I???m not forced to use one, I am fine with that.
  • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

    Google doesn't need Mozilla just like Mozilla doesn't need Google. I explained before, Firefox came about because people wanted to clean up the netscape code and make a better browser. Firefox still offers an advantage over Chrome and that is extensions. Chrome has some extensions but not nearly as many or of the same quality that you will find in Firefox. That's why I continue to use and support Firefox.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

      @Loverock Davidson- Outside a niche market (ie. people who think of themselves as power users, even though they mostly aren't that much those) nobody really cares about most extensions. That's why IE still has double the market share of FF+Chrome all together, and that's why Chrome is coming up, while Firefox is constantly declining. <br><br>Also, if people would really care about extensions, they would just be simply created for IE and Chrome, too. IE supported extensions far before FF did (and you can run even most decade old IE extensions on the newest IE version, which doesn't hold true for FF, not even between versions just months away from each other), and it simply doesn't need extensions for most things, because it can handle those themselves (for ex. IE9 includes a fully fledged ad blocker comparable to AdBlock Plus). Chrome has extension support for a while now, too.

      Fact is: most people (whether home or professional users) just couldn't care less about extensions, but have other priorities, which FF obviously fails to meet.
      • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?

        @ff2 That has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard, for one thing Chrome and FF shares are both at around 25% while IE is at around 40%, so FF and Chrome put together is actually more than IE so you're wrong. <br><br>"IE still has double the market share of FF+Chrome all together" Seriously? When was this, 2008? Get with the program already. <br><br>Even in 2008, FF had 30% market share and IE 65% and Chrome 2%. FF has managed a steady ~25% market share all these years, while IE has lost 25% in just 3 years. Chrome has gained mostly at the expense of IE, FF has lost only about 5% since Chrome.<br><br>Also, 85% of Firefox users use add-ons, so again you are wrong that "only a niche market" cares about extensions.<br><br>IE has actually declined from 90% market share to 40%, that's pretty significant. And we all know that the only reason people use IE is because it's the default browser for the OS. And while FF is declining, IE has declined even faster and further.<br><br>Fact is: You pull imaginary statistics from your @$$ and you have no idea what the crap you're talking about.
      • RE: Does Google need Mozilla?


        Extensions are the very reason to use Firefox over other browsers. Every web developer in our enterprise has Firefox with several developer extensions. I use Firefox with seven extensions. NONE are offered in Internet Explorer. Period.

        Also, if you think that the ad blocker in IE9 is even on the same playing field of AdBlock Plus, you obviously haven't used AdBlock Plus. I use IE9 at work and am well aware of its "capabilities". Extensions are virtually non-existent. The reason is that Microsoft wants it that way.

        And Chrome's version of AdBlock? PATHETIC. It blocks about the same as IE9's built-in ad blocker. There are quite a few extensions for Chrome, but not near as many as Firefox.

        Extensions are why I use Firefox. And even if they lose Google as a partner, I will continue to use Firefox. I've been using it since it was called Phoenix, and it continues to improve with each release.
  • You're missing the point

    Yes, Chrome has surged recently to become the second most used browser globally. But as usual, you bloggers don't look at the more detailed picture before jumping to your conclusions.

    Being popular 'globally' doesn't actually mean that you're equally popular everywhere. Sure, Chrome's popular 'globally' to the extent that it's now become the second most used browser if you look at the overall stats, but Firefox is still the most popular browser in many countries. And in many of those countries, IE is still more popular than Chrome. THAT'S why Google still needs Firefox.

    Take a look at browser stats for Russia, for example. Firefox is the most popular browser in Russia, followed by Opera, followed by Chrome. Take a look at African countries. Firefox is the leading browser in most African countries, followed by IE (in fact, Firefox is the most popular browser in the entire African continent - and Chrome's NOT even in second place there). And in most of those developing countries that have adopted Chrome as their leading browser, Firefox is holding on very well to its second place spot, losing very little share as Chrome decimates IE usage. It's IE that is feeling the real pain.

    The real reason why Chrome has taken Firefox's spot is that there's been a surge in Chrome use in select geographic regions in the developing world. In particular, South America and the Caribbean have massively adopted Chrome this year, thanks in part to all those YouTube ads promoting the browser. Chrome has one killer feature for the developing world that the other browsers lack by default - the ability to automatically translate foreign language web pages into a users spoken language. Add that to the fact that it runs better on the low end PC hardware that's coupled with Windows 7 Starter and Basic editions currently being widely sold in all developing nations and you've got a persuasive argument to try the browser.

    Firefox isn't irrelevant to Google or anyone else simply because it's now got a number 3 position. Haven't you noticed that Opera also has a deal with Google despite not having as much as 3 percent of the global market? Both Opera and Firefox have market presence in certain countries that Google needs access to. As much as you want to believe it, it's not a Google vs Bing world out there. Bing's already irrelevant to almost everyone living outside the US. Instead, Google's main opponents out there are local companies which dominate in their countries. That's where access to these other browsers help Google the most.