Firefox paid support: Enterprise premium starts at $10 per installation, says Mozilla

Mozilla touts SLAs for critical security bug fixes and premium support as it seeks revenue beyond Google search.

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The non-profit maker of Firefox, Mozilla, has launched a new premium service for enterprise customers that use the open-source browser.

A little over a year after Mozilla announced Firefox Quantum for Enterprise, the non-profit has quietly kicked off a new paid-for service starting at $10 per user. 

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It's the second commercial service launched by Mozilla in the past week. Mozilla just launched a new paid-for Firefox VPN service aimed at consumers dubbed the Firefox Private Network, which runs off CloudFlare infrastructure. 

It's currently in beta and only available to US users with a Firefox account. An earlier experimental service was available for $10 per month under a partnership with ProtonVPN, from encrypted email provider Proton. 

The new enterprise offering follows the 2017 Quantum overhaul of Firefox, and Mozilla's announcement last May that Firefox for the enterprise gave admins the ability to configure the browser using Windows Group Policy. 

Mozilla is hoping to offer a compelling alternative to Chrome, Edge and Internet Explorer as an organization that doesn't have the same profit incentive as Google or Microsoft and is deeply ensconced in the open-source software movement, with a focus on user privacy.     

As noted by Ghacks, which spotted the new offer, Firefox Extended Support Release remains free. 

Mozilla is offering enterprise customers a free basic version of Firefox that allows them to submit bugs publicly, gives them access to a self-service knowledge base, and community support. 

Alternatively, they can now pay $10 per installation for a premium service that offers private bug submission, critical security fixes with a service-level agreement, a customer portal, "proactive notification of critical Firefox events", and the ability to contribute to Firefox and its roadmap and more. Mozilla doesn't disclose the timeframe for the price. 

The notification of critical events could be useful for major changes such as the recently announced effort to introduce the privacy-enhancing DoH or DNS-over-HTTPS, which Google is experimenting with in Chrome, too

In Mozilla's case, it's promising to "respect enterprise configuration and disable DoH unless explicitly enabled by enterprise configuration". However, presumably paying customers could get a heads-up about changes like this in future. 

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The new enterprise option is an interesting maneuver on Mozilla's part, given that most of its revenues still derive from a search deal with Google and other search providers. It comes at a time when it's trying to push for greater privacy and security for users who have largely abandoned Firefox for Chrome. 

And despite the Firefox Quantum speed and performance improvements, monthly active users have continued to trend downwards over the past year, from over 300 million in April 2017 to under 250 million in September 2019. Google Chrome on the desktop has over a billion users.  

Mozilla is also exploring other non-search related revenue options through its 2017 acquisition of Pocket, which it's using for content recommendations through Firefox in the new tab page. 

As of Firefox 69, released earlier this month, users with the en-US Firefox will see a new 'New Tab' experience that pushes more curated content from Pocket

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