Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

Summary: Mozilla, has joined up with Microsoft to make a special version of Firefox that uses the Bing for its default search engine and home page.

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Together: Bing and Firefox

Together: Bing and Firefox

Darth "Ballmer" Vader: "Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong." Yoda "RMS": "Beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny." Vader: "Come To The Dark Side! We Have Cookies!"

No! Wait! That isn't how it went! Well, I hope not anyway!

Still, in a move that was as unthinkable as Bill Gates using an iPhone, or Linus Torvalds announcing MS-Linux, Mozilla, the company and non-profit open-source group behind the Firefox Web browser has gone over to the dark side... I mean partnered up with Microsoft to release a special version of Firefox with Bing as its default search engine.

Why would Luke, I mean Mozilla, do such a thing? Well, probably because they need the money. For many years, Mozilla's chief source of revenue has been Google. Every time you would use the Web browser's built-in search window, Mozilla would get a tiny payment. It wasn't much, but hundreds of millions of searches a week add up. That Firefox search box is believed to account for anywhere from 85 percent to 90 percent of Mozilla revenue.

It hasn't been adding up to much lately. While Mozilla's total revenue and support for 2010 was up to $123.2 million, the net income year was down by almost 20%.

At the same time, Google now has its own Web browser, Chrome. In case you haven't been keeping track, Chrome is rapidly overtaking Firefox as the number two Web browser in the world. Much of that growth has come at Firefox's expense. Giving Mozilla even more reason to worry, it's search revenue sharing deal with Google is due for renewal in November... if Google chooses to renew it.

Besides losing browser market-share and facing trouble with their single most important partner, Mozilla, faced the challenge of porting its browser to Android and iOS devices and improving Firefox on a hyper-accelerated release schedule. Firefox's reputation as being a great browser has been tarnished. Mozilla has been looking into fund-raising, but seriously how much money can they expect from begging?

The answer seems to be not enough since Tor Steiner of Microsoft's Bing team announced that since users had been asking for easier access to the Bing search engine--No, seriously he said that!--Microsoft had teamed "with Mozilla to release Firefox with Bing, a version of the popular Web browser that includes default search settings for Bing. Now Firefox users who are Bing enthusiasts can use Firefox with Bing to use the Web the way they want without having to take extra steps to navigate or customize their settings to Bing." You can also download the Bing Search for Firefox Add-on.

In both cases, what you'll get is Firefox 7.01 set with Bing as your homepage and default search engine. Of course, you could set it up that way by yourself. It would take--I just did it--twenty seconds. Still, you can now get "official" Evil Empire Firefox.

What Microsoft gets out of it--besides tempting Mozilla over to the dark side--is a chance to try to get more people to use Bing. Since Bing's chunk of the search market has been declining recently to Google and Bing and Microsoft's other online services are a financial wreck, Microsoft also needs any help it can get from Mozilla.

What I wonder now is how people will react to this move. When Microsoft partnered with Novell in November 2006, many free-software fans were enraged. To this day, there are Linux users who won't touch SUSE Linux because of its Microsoft connection.

By going over to Microsoft' dark side has Mozilla improved its immediate financial future at the cost of its soul? Ah, I mean, open-source user-base? Stay tuned for the next episode: Return of the Free Software.

Related Stories:

Microsoft's Bing launches better Firefox integration amid Google-Mozilla renewal talk

Mozilla bets on fundraising to diversify Google revenue

Firefox 7: Better Memory Management, Meh Performance (Review)

Google search share rises while competitors stumble

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Google

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106 comments
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  • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

    Most of the users (and I mean normal users. Not technically strong users) dont care about open source or closed source. They use whatever fits/suits their needs.

    And this is business. I dont know why the author is trying to personify a business. There is no soul. Decisions are made keeping in mind interests of the company and not some overzealous ideology.
    1773
    • His facts are wrong. He claims that Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

      @1773
      yet from all that I have read, they moved away from Google.

      :|
      Tim Cook
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @Mister Spock
        +1
        :)
        William Farrell
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @Mister Spock lol
        adinas
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @Mister Spock
        Plus, the real story here is the author never learned that money talks and B S walks, in business-speak!! This post is both laughable and delusional!
        eargasm
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @Mister Spock Evil Empire is a suggestive word for what they bake there.
        http://www.zuarticles.com
        karismasand07
      • <a href="http://www.tran33m.net/vb/">Ù?Ù?تدÙ?ات</a>

        @Mister Spock @Mister Spock The question is, who would download and install a different browser version instead of just changing the default search engine? I just tried it on my Firefox and it took two mouseclicks and less than 5 seconds
        alasiri
    • SJVN is Emperor Palpatine!

      @1773
      his own, evil, dark, agenda betrays him!
      William Farrell
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        This is probably why Firefox gets worse and worse, its Microsoft's evil influence over it.
        danielsweb
    • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

      erased
      adinas
    • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

      [i]In both cases, what you???ll get is Firefox 7.01 set with Bing as your homepage and default search engine. Of course, you could set it up that way by yourself. It would take???I just did it???twenty seconds. Still, you can now get "official" Evil Empire Firefox.[/i]

      As long as that's all it is and can be changed as you say, then I don't have much problem with that. As long as that's [b]only[/b] as far as they go.
      ScorpioBlue
  • You are so emotional about Microsoft

    It makes you look extremely unprofessional.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

      @toddybottom and with words like Evil Empire, Dark Side etc. extremely childish too.
      1773
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @1773 I thought it added levity to the article. Don't you have a sense of humor?
        blue_bomber
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        Everyone knows that SJVN has no sense of humour and so this article like the many before it is infantile and unprofessional.
        hubivedder
      • "Childish"

        @1773 Yet it's ok for Hoffa Jr. to use the SOB's term for a group of people he disagrees with. How many "professional" journalists and reporters belittle points of views they disagree with? I see no wrongdoing.
        davidr69
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @1773 ....and really old, too. Hey svjn, 1998 called and wants its phrase back.
        goombawa
    • I find it interesting that Mr. Vaughan-Nichols does not discuss the

      @toddybottom
      "dirty side" of FOSS in reference to Google's treatment of a fellow open source company.

      It appeared that Google was only willing to fund Firefox long enough to create their own browser before "kicking Mozilla to the curb", as you humans would say.

      It does not seem right for one company based on open source to treat another company based on open source this way.

      Is not FOSS all about "working together"?
      :|
      Tim Cook
      • RE: Firefox partners with The Evil Empire

        @Mister Spock
        Google is not Microsoft. They believe in competing rather than forming coalitions because it benefits consumers. Is the fact that Google is creating an alternate browser bad for Mozilla? Maybe, although some would say competition makes everyone better. But it sure is good for consumers.
        anono
      • I think the point is that

        @anono

        Google is absolutely no different then MS. Their actions the past few years have done nothing but proven that.
        William Farrell