Firefox hits the jackpot with almost billion dollar Google deal

Firefox hits the jackpot with almost billion dollar Google deal

Summary: We counted Mozilla out of the running too early. With $300-million a year in revenue from Google, Firefox is going to stay a major Web browser player. The big loser? Microsoft.

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TOPICS: Google, Browser
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Mozilla s Firefoxes are winning with new Google deal

Mozilla's Firefoxes are winning with the new Google deal

Well, Mozilla certainly fooled us. Just when we were counting Firefox out as a major Web browser player in the years ahead. Sure, Mozilla signed a new deal with Google, but by itself though many of us didn't think the deal meant much. I assumed, along with many others, that Google could support Firefox with its pocket change while devoting all its real attention to its own Web browser: Chrome. Boy, were we wrong!

We now know that Google will pay just under $300 million per year to be Firefox's default search engine choice. That's almost three-times as much as Mozilla made in its previous deal with Google. In 2010, 84% of Mozilla's $123 million in revenue came from its Google search deal.

This is great for Mozilla. As Jay Lyman, senior open-source analyst for 451 Research, said this is "certainly good news for Mozilla and Firefox and it buys them more time to find other sources of revenue beyond Google's search advertising. However, that has long been and continues to be a challenge. At the same time, Firefox and Mozilla are facing intense competition on all fronts, particularly from Google with Chrome. Mozilla's wise moves toward mobile computing may be intensified or expedited, but the organization faces significant competitors there too."

For now though, it's all good for Mozilla. We don't know how the details of how Mozilla almost tripled its income were hammered out yet, but we do know that Mozilla played Google off against both Microsoft and Yahoo. While both search giants will still be listed as options for Firefox, the all important default search engine will remain Google.

So why did Google spend this much on a "rival?" We don't know that either. But, if Google can, with Firefox's help, push Microsoft's Internet Explorer out of the top Web browser spot, they wouldn't cry. What's more important to Google's bottom line is that by making sure that Google is the number one choice on two of the big three Web browsers it helps to ensure that Bing and Yahoo stay in a distant second place in the search engine market race.

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Now the question is: What will Mozilla do with its new-found riches? A good guess, to borrow Microsoft's Steve Ballmer's favorite phrase, is: "Developers! Developers! Developers!"

In the last three years, Mozilla has ratcheted up its software development spending enormously. The Software Development line in Mozilla's financials reads:

  • 2008: $31.3 million
  • 2009: $40.2 million
  • 2010: $62.8 million

But where exactly will this money go? Mozilla has declined to answer my queries, but given their recent work, it's not too hard to guess where their money will go.

First, Mozilla has been pushing out Firefox releases at a dizzying pace. And, as the emergency bug fix release of Firefox 9.01 just showed, sometimes Mozilla has been releasing their flagship Web browser too fast for its users own good. With more resources, Mozilla can, and should, do a better job of quality assurance.

At the same time, Mozilla has recently redesigned its Firefox Web browser for Android. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, it makes perfect sense for Mozilla to spend even more resources on delivering a first rate Web browser performance on Android and Apple's iOS.

So, what I expect to see is stronger Web browsers on the PC and additional innovation for the growing smartphone and tablet market. I see Mozilla and Google both winning from this deal. For what still amounts to little money for Google, the search giant put more pressure on Microsoft and Mozilla gets more money than the company has ever seen before. Microsoft is the big loser, but Yahoo and all the smaller Web browser companies can't be happy either.

Firefoxes image by redpandasrule, , CC 2.0.

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Google paying Mozilla $300 million per year for search deal

Mozilla pushes out Firefox 9.0.1

Mozilla goes after Android tablets with new Firefox experience

Mozilla: We're more than just Firefox, you know

Topics: Google, Browser

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74 comments
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  • This is great for Mozilla.

    Paging Ed Bott.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • Now, now

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      Behave yourself DTS. There's enough good news here to spread the joy around. ;)
      klumper
      • Would it help Mozilla to hire some quality developers

        ... to fix FireFox' perennial mysterious crashes finally?
        LBiege
      • Not always that simple

        @LBiege<br>[i]Would it help Mozilla to hire some quality developers to fix FireFox' perennial mysterious crashes finally?[/i]<br><br>I've probably seen Internet Explorer crash and/or choke more than any other over the years. Of course IE is also the most widespread browser so this notion isn't necessarily cast in stone. But I do handle a greater variety of units than most.

        All browsers can crash or lock up at times. Conflicts often arise while interfacing with third-party software -- anti-virus, firewall and DLM progs, extensions, applets and plug-ins (Java, Flash, etc.) and of course malware if it's resident on the system. User profiles can also get corrupted. Other systems may lack sufficient memory.

        No easy answers here, but it's definitely not a Firefox exclusive issue. That I can tell you, this time cast in chrome, er, stone.
        klumper
      • Hey Joe, we get the fact that

        @Joe.Smetona
        you're paid to turn every article into an anti-MS "rant", but come on, how childish can you be to think that people actually fall for your make believe?

        But then again,200 linux problems (actuall way more have been documented) are linux problems since there's no MS software that runs on Linux.

        I know, we aren't suppost to say anything. Sorry to ruin your day! ;)
        William Farrel
      • since there's no MS software that runs on Linux

        @William Farrel

        Have you not heard of wine?
        guzz46
      • Reply to Will Farrell. ---MS Rant? --- you got to be kidding.

        @W.F. ... You obviously are referring to the many times I brought up the TDL-4 botnet and it's variants here, asking why ZDNet hasn't addressed it while 4.5 million Windows users became infected in the first three months of 2011. MS, ZDNet, you and your shill buddies had no problem completely ignoring the issue and there certainly was no article. It's called "propaganda by omission" and you were a star player, trying to diffuse any mention of it.
        Joe.Smetona
      • Re: Will Farrell.

        Unlike Microsoft, Linux doesn't have a budget for people to blog about it in a positive manner and provide damage control. Amazing how a handful of Linux posters have more empathy for the 4.5 million infected Windows users that are thrown under the bus by you and your buddies. It's not a concern for MS or ZD because the botnet infection is not disruptive and masks it's browser usage. The vast majority don't even know their computer is sending out 8,000-10,000 spam emails a day. In the eyes of MS and it's appendages, they are expendable.
        Joe.Smetona
      • Will Farrell: check this out: www-.-linuxmint-.-com/about-.-php

        @W.F ... The official Linux Mint website declares users don't have to use Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware. If you want to have some accountability for your statements, show me the same declaration on the Microsoft website.

        [i][b] "It's safe and reliable. Thanks to a conservative approach to software updates, a unique Update Manager and the robustness of its Linux architecture, Linux Mint requires very little maintenance (no regressions, no antivirus, no anti-spyware...etc)." [/b][/i]
        Joe.Smetona
      • Will Farrell - Microsoft programs for Linux.

        @W.F. ... Also, I run a $6,000 enterprise CAD program (MicroStation) with 3D rendering in Wine for Linux. The program is written for Windows. It runs better in Linux.
        Joe.Smetona
      • Linux Mint website declares users don't have to use Anti-Virus

        @Joe.Smetona
        There is a false sense of security on the part of linux users. Windows is much more attacked for the simple reason that approximately 93% of computers worldwide are running any version of Windows. There are no reasons for cybercriminals to spend time building exploits for operating systems that make up less than 1% of the desktops on the planet. The cybercriminals are living in the real world, they would have to be with serious mental disorders to waste your time making exploits to an operating system like Linux Mint whose market share is infinitesimal.
        Bafoo
      • RE: Firefox hits the jackpot with almost billion dollar Google deal

        @Bafoo

        There is no false sense of security for Linux users, windows is attacked because its easy to get a windows system infected and to have that infection spread to other windows PC's.

        Cybercriminals are much more likely to attack servers because they run websites like Paypal, your bank etc... websites that store hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers, and you know Linux is very popular in those areas.
        guzz46
      • Reply to Bafoo.

        @Reply to Bafoo.<br>If one OS is secure and another is not, market share doesn't make a difference. I'm assuming you haven't tried Linux, that's the best thing you can do, see for yourself. Can you use Windows for 9 years without any protection like anti-virus and not get infected? Android destroyed the Linux-market share argument. What market share does Microsoft have in the smartphones and why is Android-Linux doing so well?<br><br>From the Linuxmint website:<br> <i><b> "It's safe and reliable. Thanks to a conservative approach to software updates, a unique Update Manager and the robustness of its Linux architecture, Linux Mint requires very little maintenance (no regressions, no antivirus, no anti-spyware...etc)." </b></i> <br><br> When's the last time you saw the Microsoft website telling users they didn't have to use AV or Anti-Spyware protection?<br><br>I installed Linux Mint for 2 schools, did not install any AV, and did not give any special security precautions. That was in April and I haven't received any problem calls. Linux ( and I don't care who is using it ) is not going to get infected. The only way for you to accept this is to try it.

        Incorrect information posted here over the years has depicted Linux as a rogue, unfinished type of OS, completely unfamiliar to someone who uses Windows.

        Nothing can be further from the truth. Browsing with Firefox and using any web or Java application is identical to Windows. Typically I install 64-bit Google Chrome, Chromium and Opera. Again, these provide exactly the same experience as browsing in Windows.

        My programs such as Filezilla, Google Earth, Google Picasa, Truecrypt, LibreOffice, Scribus and others operate in exactly the same manner as Windows.
        Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Firefox hits the jackpot with almost billion dollar Google deal

        @Joe.Smetona and @guzz46
        Android is the proof that "market share make the difference", Android destroyed the Linux security argument. There are a lot of malwares for Android, there are not malwares for WP7, WP7 market share is infinitesimal. Windows 7 was affected since its launch by 168 vulnerabilities (80 advisories - 61% exploitable from remote), Linux Kernel 2.6.x since its release was affected by 699 vulnerabilities (283 advisories - 71% exploitable from remote), the numbers from Secunia (one of the best provider of Vulnerability Intelligence) show clearly who is the system more vulnerable and insecure. The targets are the most used, Windows in Desktop, Android in smartphones, Apple in tablets.
        Bafoo
      • iOS is the proof that "market share dont make the difference"

        @bafoo<br>also OSX is the proof that "market share dont make the difference"; deal with it. 10 years using it: no antivirus needed. You can spin whatever way you want, Windows need a myriad of antivirus software provided by the only category where there is action in the windows ecosystem. Despite that, they get infected & they try to hide the fact that MILLIONS of windows machines are owned by botnets, like the problem dont exist.<br>Open your eyes, buddy, denial wont help.
        theo_durcan
      • Android is the proof that "market share make the difference

        @Bafoo

        No it isn't, you see Android malware isn't an OS vulnerability, you don't get infected by clicking on something in Android like you do in windows, you have to install an application and accept the terms... usually from a third party repo, but sometimes from the official repo, so its either the users fault for installing from an untrusted source or Google's fault for letting that malware app into the marketplace.
        If your using one of the major desktop Linux distro's and you stick to your distro's repos you won't have any malware problems at all.

        An OS vulnerability is like that recent one found in WP7 that can reboot your phone and disable the messing app just upon receiving a sms.

        And the Linux Kernel version 2.6.x had a life span of about 6 and a half years, where windows 7 has only been out for just over 2 years.
        With Secunia you need to look at a specific Linux distro not just the kernel, even then its not a fair comparison because Linux distros release patches for every piece of software in their repos (which in some distro's is well over 30,000) software like Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin etc... so they will have a high vulnerability count.
        But microsoft only release patches for microsoft software.

        But the most important thing to note is that according to Secunia windows 7 has 5 unpatched vulnerabilities, the worst being rated as highly critical.
        Now lets look at Debian 5.0 which has been out longer than windows 7 and is still supported... according to Secunia it has 0 unpatched vulnerabilities.
        guzz46
      • Re: Bafoo, where you are trying to go with this.

        @Bafoo... "What happens when anyone can develop and publish an application to the Android Market? These days, it seems all you need is a developer account, that is relatively easy to anonymize, pay $25 and you can post your applications."<br><br>What you are trying to do is equate "ability to resist infections" with people writing actual applications with "non-desired instructions" and selling them to Android buyers. The resultant "non-desired" actions you are calling malware infections.<br><br>You are completely wrong. Why, because the act of the owner installing the program, with the unknown, undesired actions, cannot be distinguished from the program instructions.<br><br>When I install for my Linux (or possibly Android), using a trusted repository would eliminate the problem. My repository for Linux Mint as over 33,000 free applications for download - none of which cause problems, so i trust downloading from it. I also download and Install directly from the Google, Filezilla, TrueCrypt, Mozilla, Opera and LibreOffice websites, which are also trusted.<br><br>Linus Torvalds (founder of Linux) described security as a "network of trust".<br><br>I have read many times here where posters boast about how important it is for them to "unlock" their phone so they can install non-Google apps. If you are going to install rogue apps, nothing is going to save you on any OS.<br><br>Unfortunately, you are falling into the propaganda trap ZDNet has been using for a long while. If you are using trusted apps, and your computer becomes infected from external sources, the OS needs attention. if you install a bad app and are experiencing problems (a trojan, or unwanted secondary program), nothing you do to the OS is going to prevent problems.<br><br>If you buy a program to print out only even numbers, you install it and run it, and it prints out odd numbers and you are furious, are you going to blame the OS? How does the OS know to print the even and not odd numbers if the programmer coded it to print only odd? This is a great example because the even and odd don't matter to the computer. Any "malware" would be instructions that the computer is able to do in "normal" operations, it doesn't (or shouldn't know) the difference. It's just a matter of keeping to trusted sources.<br><br>No one should blame any OS if they install un-trusted applications. Blame the user because the computer has no way to tell the difference if the programmer codes in unwanted actions. If you wanted to "fix" the problem, you should completely take away the ability to install programs, and not many people want that. Or, in the case of my example above, you would need to modify the OS not to recognize odd numbers.<br><br>Linux isn't going to be any different for Android than it is for me, but I don't install rogue apps and Linux does not get infected from external sources like Windows does.<br><br>When you install a program, you are installing "ALL" of the program, even the secret parts you don't want.
        Joe.Smetona
    • RE: Firefox hits the jackpot with almost billion dollar Google deal

      I certainly didn't want to see them fade out and the rest of us being stuck with the likes of a bundled proprietary tool like IE or spyware like Chrome. That would not be good.
      ScorpioBlue
      • If you think Chrome has spyware...

        @ScorpioBlue ... Try Chromium, it's the open source base of Chrome with no Google.

        I can't tell the difference, they operate exactly the same.
        Joe.Smetona
      • No need

        I'm happy with Firefox.
        ScorpioBlue