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Why Firefox's Future Lies In Google's Hands 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-fox-in-hand-is-worth-two-in-the-bush dept.
Barence writes "Firefox has just turned five, and it now accounts for 25% of the global market, according to figures from Net Applications. Its success has forced rivals to raise their game, and the past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly. Google is the default homepage when Firefox first opens, and the default search engine when users type something into the 'awesome bar.' The deal, which runs until 2011, was worth $66 million to Mozilla in 2007, accounting for 88% of the foundation's revenues that year (the last year for which it had published accounts). But now that Google is a competitor as well as a partner, is it really wise for Mozilla to be so dependent on Google?"
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Why Firefox's Future Lies In Google's Hands

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  • Lone Wolf (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:24PM (#30821260) Journal

    Mozilla is actually alone in this. Even Opera (while also getting revenue from Google) does lots of its business with other devices like Wii, Mobile Phones, and other non-pc devices. Hell, I was visiting a hotel which had one of those tv's with hotel interfaces. One day it suddenly booted itself for update and when booting up, there was Opera logo on the start.

    So only Mozilla is dependent on others.

    • Re:Lone Wolf (Score:5, Insightful)

      by richlv (778496) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:34PM (#30821368)

      opera has a surprisingly large market share on various embedded devices (as you mentioned) and in included on very large share of mobile devices.

      what i found funny in the summary - "past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly".

      if anything, firefox has mighe have been closing the feature gap with opera, which had absolute majority of the features first.

      disclaimer - opera user for many years here.

      • Now I didn't rtfa, the summary, or the comment I am replying to. But I really don't feel good about whatever all of this is referring to.

      • Re:Lone Wolf (Score:4, Informative)

        by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledouxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:32PM (#30826354) Homepage
        I found the claim that Opera was "catching up" in the summary spurious at best. Many of the features that Firefox has were developed first by the Opera team, including tabs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      non-pc devices.

      I've noticed that too. My mobile phone is always complaining about how black people don't know their place, asking who that 'mulatto' is whenever Obama is on CNN and saying that women should be back home cooking for the husbands.

      Oh well, it's an old model I guess.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:26PM (#30821284)

    This issue has been discussed [slashdot.org] on /. many times before. Mozilla needs a sponsor. Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge. So, what options does Mozilla have? Well, they could stay with Google or they could defect to Yahoo or Bing. But MS is even more of a browser competitor than Google. And Yahoo isn't in a financial position to be sponsoring anyone right now. Sure, you could maybe come up with some other more complicated solutions, but $66 million worth? Not many companies, or even groups of companies, have that kind of money to throw around for a little advertisement. There just aren't a lot of alternatives.

    So, SHOULD they break away from Google? Probably. CAN they break away from them (and maintain their quality)? Probably not. So, like a bad marriage of convenience, Mozilla is probably stuck with Google until the day (possibly) comes when Google themselves decide to break it off.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge.

      No! It's F/OSS - all the Mozilla developers can go and offer paid support, write books, do some TV reality shows, and they'll make plenty of money! That's the whole business model of F/OSS, isn't it?

      Or is that Mozilla is a perfect example of how the F/OSS business model isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

      I think we're starting to see the F/OSS model isn't sustainable.

      Time will tell.

      My captcha is 'discord' - irony?

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        Exactly, it's great for projects that are big. Apache gets huge donations from large companies too. Those random projects, not so much. They really mostly in advertising revenues, like Mozilla indirectly gets from Google. Do you really want more advertising and lost privacy?

      • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:54PM (#30821658)

        FUD.

        That's the whole business model of F/OSS, isn't it?

        No, that is only one of many possible F/OSS business models. Other common F/OSS business models include dual licensing and paid support. Examples include Redhat, formerly Trolltech (aquired by Nokia), and many others.

        isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

        Of the big linux distrobutions, only one (ubuntu) comes to mind as relying on a so called "sugar daddy". Debian is entirely community run, and Fedora is community run, with support from Redhat (an extremely sucessful and profitable F/OSS company).

        Time will tell.

        Time has already shown the concept to be quite workable.

        • by Kijori (897770)

          Other common F/OSS business models include dual licensing and paid support. Examples include Redhat, formerly Trolltech (aquired by Nokia), and many others.

          Neither of those are possible for Mozilla - why would anyone pay for support for a web browser? Why would anyone pay for a web browser? I don't see any way you could make a profit from the consumer web-browser market.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sir_Lewk (967686)

            Well, Opera seems to be doing decently, selling mobile browsers or whatever they do (I don't use Opera browsers, I'm somewhat unfamilar with their products), but in this case I agree with you. No business model can save you if your product is crap people won't buy.

            Right now Mozilla's product is users, which they are selling to google. I believe trying to make their browser the product would be a terrible move, regardless of how they do it.

            All of this said, calling F/OSS business models bust because one pa

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Just because Linux always survives doesn't mean that everything is sustainable. Clearly Google not renewing their agreement would be a huge setback for Firefox, likewise if Nokia decided to lay off everyone developing Qt which is the basis of KDE, Sun pulling out of OpenOffice and so on. For all of you remembering the dotcom days, lots of money was poured into open source then as well and went bust just like the rest of the economy. Personally I felt quality went considerably down when Red Hat stopped suppo

      • by Synn (6288)

        Or is that Mozilla is a perfect example of how the F/OSS business model isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

        I think we're starting to see the F/OSS model isn't sustainable.

        Isn't sustainable? Debian was founded in 1993 and has been running strong ever since. It's the core base for a lot of other distributions out there, including the most popular one around, Ubuntu.

        KDE, GNOME, Xorg, the Linux kernel, PostgreSQL, Postfix, BIND, Samba, do I really need to list 500 or so open source projects that makes up a significant part of the modern world's IT industry?

        Also, the Mozilla project is hardly floundering. 66 million a year isn't peanuts and if they can't run the project on less t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gerald (9696)

        No! It's F/OSS - all the Mozilla developers can go and offer paid support, write books, do some TV reality shows, and they'll make plenty of money! That's the whole business model of F/OSS, isn't it?

        Not if you're Snort, Asterisk, or Wireshark.

    • by jmyers (208878) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:39PM (#30821442)

      Where does the money go? It seems to me that $66 million could fund a lot of development for many years. Put that in the bank and you could easily pay the salary of 10 full time programmers and a decent amount of overhead and never spend a dime of principal and never need additional sponsorship and strings that go with it.

      • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:36PM (#30822330)

        Where does the money go? It seems to me that $66 million could fund a lot of development for many years. Put that in the bank and you could easily pay the salary of 10 full time programmers and a decent amount of overhead and never spend a dime of principal and never need additional sponsorship and strings that go with it.

        The money goes to salaries of the executives. A cool half million dollars or more for the CEO to be exact. I wonder how productive should they be to justify such salaries? That money can easily go to hire 5 top notch C++ coders for an entire year to hunt down memory leaks and make the code more efficient. The only reason to give such money should be as a bonus if-and-only-if the executives figure out how to reduce their dependence on Google, it's been 5 years and nothing's being done about it.

        Disclaimer: I've seen my university students scrounge their last savings money to pay for the Firefox ad in the NYT 4 years ago, so maybe that makes me sick to the stomach to see Mozilla wasting so much money on administration.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by geek (5680)

          How productive must the executives be to justify the salaries? Seeing as it was them who negotiated the 66 million to begin with I would say there were quite productive indeed.

          I'll never understand people like you that constantly whine about other peoples salaries. 1) it isn't any of your business how much they make, 2) if they didn't deserve it the board wouldn't be giving it, 3) if they grab more than they earn the company dies and the code base is free so no real loss.

          Honestly, are people like you so pet

          • by IICV (652597) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:28PM (#30824006)

            1) it isn't any of your business how much they make

            Seriously, this sort of attitude is part of what makes America so divided. It isn't any of my business how much someone else makes? Then how am I supposed to make a rational decision about my line of work? All compensation for all positions for all companies should be freely available, so I know that if I sign on as a developer with shop A I'm getting a worse deal than if I signed on with shop B. I should also be able to see exactly how many zeroes there are in every executive's paycheck, bonuses and stock options so I can make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in a given company.

            2) if they didn't deserve it the board wouldn't be giving it

            You know why they deserve it? Because CEO 1 is on the board of company 2, so he says that CEO 2 should have a ridiculous salary. CEO 2 is on the board of company 1, so he says that CEO 1 should have a ridiculous salary.

            3) if they grab more than they earn the company dies and the code base is free so no real loss

            No real loss, except for the opportunity cost of all that extra money going into improving the CEO's bankroll instead of into improving the company.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by pclminion (145572)

              I should also be able to see exactly how many zeroes there are in every executive's paycheck, bonuses and stock options so I can make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in a given company.

              You do realize that you CAN see this information, don't you? Go to, for instance, Google finance. Type in a ticker symbol. Scroll down to the "Officers and directors" section. Click on somebody's name. See that "Bio and compensation" link? Click that.

              This crap is all required to be reported by the SEC fo

          • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:39PM (#30824880)

            How productive must the executives be to justify the salaries? Seeing as it was them who negotiated the 66 million to begin with I would say there were quite productive indeed.

            I'll never understand people like you that constantly whine about other peoples salaries. 1) it isn't any of your business how much they make, 2) if they didn't deserve it the board wouldn't be giving it, 3) if they grab more than they earn the company dies and the code base is free so no real loss.

            Honestly, are people like you so petty that you must constantly whine that you don't make as much as someone else? Be happy they are making money, they will continue to do so and we'll all benefit as a result. If you really must insist on this socialist idea of spreading the wealth then by all means, move to Cuba and see how productive they are there.

            Why are you attempting to make this into a capitalism vs. socialism strawman? The issue at hand is the CEO of a for-profit organization backed by a non-profit organization, and hence pays no taxes whatsoever on the $66 million some of which goes into obscene CEO profits. Meanwhile, countless F/OSS supporters are poring in their precious free time to develop, report bugs and develop extensions.

            And it is my business how much they make or what Mozilla does with it's money, because that money comes from Google searches that people like me perform on Firefox. If me and other users of FF suddenly decide to switch to Bing on FF or to Chrome, it's Firefox that stops earning millions and fold up since Google pays per search. There are plenty of other competing browsers nowadays that are faster and leaner anyway. If some of that money that goes into executive pay was used in the previous years to make Firefox faster and leaner(notice the number of 'Firefox is bloated' complaints that pop up everytime in a FF story?) Firefox would stop losing users and revenue.

            So if the executives start paying themselves $65 million a year because they signed on the agreement with Google, I should be happy for them for making money? And while I am not a fan of socialism, Cuba is a bad example. From the Wiki:

            Cuba also has succeeded in reducing poverty and equalizing the distribution of wealth. According to the United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America, the decile ratio (share of total income for the top 10 percent of wage earners divided by the bottom 10 percent) in Latin America was 45 to 1, while that of Cuba was only 4 to 1. Cuba's income distribution was more than 10 times more equal than the rest of Latin America in the 1980s. Before the Revolution, Cuba's decile ratio was 65 to 1.[4]

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dveditz (11090)

              The issue at hand is the CEO of a for-profit organization backed by a non-profit organization, and hence pays no taxes whatsoever on the $66 million some of which goes into obscene CEO profits.

              The Mozilla Corporation pays taxes on everything it earns just like every other taxable corporation. It is not allowed to share money back with the Foundation or risk costing the Foundation its non-profit status.

      • by BZ (40346) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:39PM (#30822384)

        > Where does the money go?

        See http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2009/11/19/state-of-mozilla-and-2008/ [lizardwrangler.com] and the documents linked from it for the 2008 data.

        > Put that in the bank and you could easily pay the salary of 10 full time programmers

        As of end of 2008, there were about 200 people being paid out of the $66 million, according to the link above. That would include programmers, QA, UI designers, marketing, administration, IT staff.

        That's somewhat smaller than the number of people Opera, say, employs, at least last time I checked.

        For comparison, by the way, FY 2008 revenues for Opera were about $87 million according to http://www.opera.com/media/finance/2009/2Q09.pdf [opera.com]

      • by BZ (40346) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:52PM (#30822634)

        In summary, for 2008 and based on http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/documents/mf-2008-audited-financial-statement.pdf [mozilla.org] , something like $17 million taxes, $12 million set aside for future (e.g. if the Google contract doesn't get renewed, say). About $50 million spent, from a total revenue of $80 million or so. That would presumably include salaries+benefits for those 200-ish people, whatever hardware is needed for the developers, the testing infrastructure (see http://atlee.ca/blog/2009/11/02/what-happens-when-you-push/ [atlee.ca] for example), infrastructure for the various Mozilla web sites (addons.mozilla.org, www.mozilla.org, update servers, etc). Oh, and office space lease, presumably.

        How much do you figure it should take to run an organization with about 200 competent (so not necessarily cheap) staff and a fair amount of necessary infrastructure for a year?

    • by linhares (1241614)
      I HAVE AN IDEA!!!!

      If they sell each copy for $100, then with only (US$66 000 000,00/US$100 =) 660 000 users they could get the same amount of cash.

      Fuck; this is a perfect plan... just like Microsoft Office!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by confused one (671304)
        I know you're trying to be sarcastic and/or funny; but, there's a history lesson, sitting right there waiting for you... It goes by the name of Netscape.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grasshoppa (657393)

      I would argue that it is not a "truly professional piece of software". How do I manage it on a network? If I wanted to lock down the color settings, how might I do that? How about updating the software, and plugins? How is that achieved in a corporate environment?

      Unless you meant for the home environment, in which case sure, it does have that market.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you want to lock down the color settings, here are the steps:

        1) Before deploying, go to the configuration file.
        2) Find a hot curling iron
        3) Shove it up your ass

        There's no fucking reason you need to lock down the color settings.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icebraining (1313345)

        How about updating the software, and plugins? How is that achieved in a corporate environment?

        Well, Debian can do it: Iceweasel (the Debian version of Firefox) is updated via the repositories (and you can setup your own for internal use) and so are some of it's extensions and plugins.

    • Oh geez, this is bad. If Firefox becomes more Google-dependent THERE GOES ADBLOCK and there goes the whole pleasant web experience. This may be more important than people realize.

    • by afidel (530433)
      This issue has been discussed [slashdot.org] on /. many times before. Mozilla needs a sponsor. Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge.

      Like Apache? Like the Linux kernel?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by businessnerd (1009815)

      So, SHOULD they break away from Google? Probably. CAN they break away from them (and maintain their quality)? Probably not. So, like a bad marriage of convenience, Mozilla is probably stuck with Google until the day (possibly) comes when Google themselves decide to break it off.

      Seriously? Mozilla gets $66M from Google every year and you think they should break away from them? I think you let the article irrationally scare you. The issue is not that they have a deal with Google, it's that they may have al

  • Its success has forced rivals to raise their game, and the past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly.

    When you look at it with a bird's eye view, I think FireFox has closed the gap, feature-wise.
    True, add-ons never became really successful in Opera, but it was mostly complete already before firefox gained popularity

  • Choices? Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stokessd (89903) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:36PM (#30821392) Homepage

    Seriously, who should be the default search provider, payments or not? If I've got a choice, I'm heading to google, not because of some sort of "I love google" sort of thing, but because they have the best search. If firefox defaults to "Bing!" or "aunt martha's internet search and lemon pies", it won't matter as long as I can set it to Google.

    It's the ability to choose that I want to protect, not what the default is.

    It would be annoying if they switched to a different default, because that would be one more customization step every time I install Firefox.

    Sheldon

    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:42PM (#30822432) Homepage

      Seriously, who should be the default search provider, payments or not? If I've got a choice, I'm heading to google, not because of some sort of "I love google" sort of thing, but because they have the best search. If firefox defaults to "Bing!" or "aunt martha's internet search and lemon pies", it won't matter as long as I can set it to Google.

      It's the ability to choose that I want to protect, not what the default is.

      It would be annoying if they switched to a different default, because that would be one more customization step every time I install Firefox.

      Sheldon

      It does matter. Sure, you can control your own settings, but the aggregate behavior of the masses who leave their settings at default does have an impact.

      1. If the search engine profits from its users, then the default search engine makes a great deal of difference. If traffic goes down, the search engine has less income, and therefore less capital to re-invest into innovation.
      2. If the search engine decides to skew its search results, a vast majority of users who don't change their default might not ever see whatever it is that the default search engine doesn't want them to see. Imagine if Google censored search engine results according to the whim of some bad government.
      3. If you want to collaborate with anyone else, you'll have to take into account when they do a search, their results page will be different from yours, since you're not using the default.
      4. Anytime you're using a computer that is not your own, you're going to have to deal with the default search engine, which isn't your preferred one. Sure, you can just browse to google and search from their homepage, but it's an extra step.
  • it's in mozilla's, and their user's best interest to provide their users with the best search engine by default. that's google as of today. mozilla should be happy that they are getting paid to do the best thing for their users.

    as far as i know google isn't doing anything to subvert mozilla. they are just fairly competing with them. mozilla is open source, and open source shouldn't have any pride. if google bests them at some point, they shouldn't take it as an insult. let the best browser win.

    • by Kijori (897770)

      The user's best interest is not very well served by Mozilla going bankrupt and having to stop work on Firefox. Compared to that, having to change your default search engine if you prefer Google doesn't seem too much of a hardship.

      • The user's best interest is not very well served by Mozilla going bankrupt and having to stop work on Firefox.

        there is no reason to try to subvert chrome indirectly by spiting google search. mozilla should continue to do what's best for the user and compete on those merits. google is the best search today, and that's what most users will want as the default.

        yes, it's easy to change the default back to google, but heck, it's also easy to uninstall the MSFT / bing toolbar. maybe mozilla should ship that o

  • Bias Posting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:50PM (#30821590)

    "[Firefox] the past two years have seen ... Opera close the features gap significantly." Are we re-writing documented history? Opera is the longest running GUI Web browser, first to use tabs, sessions, customizable skins, ACID 2 & 3 compliant, download management panel, widget support, and a whole host of other features Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, and Google have taken and continue to take from Opera ASA. I suppose when your non-Opera Web browser lacks the security track record Opera possesses, delusive jealousy becomes a factor.

    • by TeXMaster (593524)

      "[Firefox] the past two years have seen ... Opera close the features gap significantly." Are we re-writing documented history? Opera is the longest running GUI Web browser, first to use tabs, sessions, customizable skins, ACID 2 & 3 compliant, download management panel, widget support, and a whole host of other features Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, and Google have taken and continue to take from Opera ASA. I suppose when your non-Opera Web browser lacks the security track record Opera possesses, delusive jealousy becomes a factor.

      I wouldn't write it off as delusive jealousy, maybe it's just plain ignorance: I'm starting to think that Opera should do a better job at advertising its constant being one (when not several) step(s) ahead of the competition. Firefox, after all, has always had much more aggressive campaigning, which combined with its starting off from the vast Mozilla suite fanbase, and the fact that it's open source, put it in a much more favorable position, so that if and when people actually get to try Opera, they've alr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm always worried that Firefox is making privacy too low a focus. Many of the privacy features I'd like would to see in Firefox would reduce the amount of data Google and other search engines gather about my WWW habits.

    For as long as the Mozilla Foundation is financially dependent on Google, I presume that the Mozilla Foundation is betraying its users privacy in return for Google's money.

    Being free software usually prevents projects from betraying their users, but this is a bizare case where those control

  • Sure, google now has a browser but why do they have a browser. Are they trying to sell the browser? No, they needed a browser for its utility and not for its direct profitability. I think they would be damned happy to continue funding mozilla since mozilla is moving forward and doing a pretty good job. They are also redirecting a lot of traffic google's way!
    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      Yes absolutely, I agree. Mozilla doesn't lose anything by Google having a browser and some people using Chrome rather than Firefox. Mozilla's aim should be freedom of choice in quality browser software.

  • Or.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thyamine (531612) <<thyamine> <at> <ofdragons.com>> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:58PM (#30821706) Homepage Journal
    They can use that to help push them to be better. They need the money more than they can worry about Google being a competitor. I will say that I used Firefox for many years, but when Chrome came out for OS X I switched. It's faster, and cleaner (cleaner being my relative term for how it 'feels'). I still use Firefox for web development and testing because of the addons, but Firefox has grown sluggish lately. As many have said before, they need to strip it back down, and let a lot of their extras be added in by the users if they really want it. I'm doing without several of my preferred plugins (AdBlock especially) just because Chrome is that much snappier feeling.
  • Should Mozilla do anything about it?

    I doubt Google will forsake FF yet. Their market share plus competition with MS makes them an attractive ally. Until chrome gains substantial share(and I think it will) supporting FF is in Google's best interest.

    At that point though, FF will probably need a kick in the butt. Some new forks moving away from the relatively stable and comfortable, but slower to change browser it's become seems to me be a natural part of the life cycle of a project like FF. It has provi
  • Defaults (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zlogic (892404)

    I think that if Google doesn't sponsor Mozilla, they'll probably switch to Bing. Firefox has a large marketshare, if we add IE to the mix (which already has Bing as the default choice), something like 90% of the browser market will be using Bing. Of couse, some people will revert to Google. But Bing is good enough for most search queries, and a lot of users won't care.

    Some versions of Firefox already stopped using Google - for example the official Russian version uses Yandex because in CIS countries it's mo

    • I think that if Google doesn't sponsor Mozilla, they'll probably switch to Bing. Firefox has a large marketshare, if we add IE to the mix (which already has Bing as the default choice), something like 90% of the browser market will be using Bing. .

      A large chunk of those machines are sold by OEMs, and Google has an agreement with a lot of them to have Google as the search engine(even in IE I think) and Chrome as the default browser.

  • for, if they do, they will have upset us. we are the small developers, webmasters, publishers, contributors. we are adsense, we are pagerank, analytics, this that, whatever google has devised in regard to content syndication on the web.

    if they do, we will upset google.

    • by revlayle (964221)
      So google has to keep paying mozilla to fund their project instead of promoting their own browser (for better or worse) so they don't upset you guys???
  • I am a browser slut. I currently use firefox, safari and chrome. I constantly shift around my browser of choice.

    That said, I would pay $1 per year to Mozilla to help support their dev team. According to most estimates there are well over 100 million users of firefox.

    If each of us gave a dollar, that would be plenty!!

    • I, for one, am not going to contribute a cent till they reduce their exorbitant CEO and other executive compenstaion. Last known, it was around $550K for the CEO.

  • In ten years, Google will be as despised as Microsoft. In twenty years, it will be just another mainstream company. IBM->Microsoft->Google-> ?. There's always a new gorilla waiting to toss the heavyweight off his perch. As a non-profit, Mozilla has a different set of fears and challenges.
  • i tried to move to chrome actually. seemed like the right thing to do since i've swallowed the google pill many times over. it's UI is just odd. every other app has a menu bar, but chrome thinks they don't need one. well, actually it still has menus, they are just accessible from other places in the app where you would not logically look for them.

    for example, the "preferences" menu is next to the location bar. it's the little wrench icon. okay, every other app has a menu>tools or menu>edit

    • by revlayle (964221)
      I prefer this, that way no on screen real estate is used up by a menu bar. I only commonly use a few options in the "wrench" menu and I'd rather have it all hidden there instead of always on screen when i would rarely use it anyways. more space to read and see pages and less ui element always on screen... i guess it is a preference thing.
      • by proslack (797189)
        F11 = browse full screen.
        • by revlayle (964221)
          ok awesome, why do i need press a button for that when the browser could give me more screen real estate by default? I bet F11 was designed to hide UIs that were too busy (esp. when mointor resolutions were even smaller). again... however, all preference.
  • Out of their possible viable partners, Yahoo is the only one that is not a direct competitor.

    Google, with its all gooey-dooey not do evil mantra, has become a bigger competitor, and likely a conflct of interest, to the Mozilla foundation. Kinda like they did to Apple..

  • by Max_W (812974)

    Chrome is done with a ribbon, like Internet Explorer. I do not get ribbon instead of a normal toolbar. Why repair what is not broken?

    I would say Chrome with its current ribbon design have no chance.

    As for a browser in a smart phone, I am not convinced either. The screen is too small. Netbook maybe, a netbook with a flexible screen may work too. Or a smart phone with a flexible attachable screen in a roll. But how to work on a mobile phone screen? It is just too small.

  • And those hands are questionable. The browser doesn't really lead in any area. They are not pushing the standards compliance front (see the ACID tests). They are not leading the speed or javascript fronts. They have been resting on their plugin laurels. The bureaucracy is heavy (see firefox vs debian). The code itself is heavy. (the reason why webkit is chosen over gecko) And Asa, mozilla chief fanboi, thinks microsoft is a more trustworthy partner moving forward than google is. (see the bing recomme

  • is it really wise for Mozilla to be so dependent on Google?

    Nope. In fact, it would be wise to weaken its links to google. For example, by binding to more than one search engine. What's important, though, is that search results are presented with a consistent interface, so that users will not feel any negative side-effects from switching between engines.

    Since google has started commoditizing the browser-industry, it seems that it's now time for the browsers to start commoditizing the search engines...

  • by BitHive (578094) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:27PM (#30822138) Homepage

    Firefox used to be the lightweight alternative. Now when everyone else is focusing on speed and usability, Firefox will take longer to start than any other browser, and do all sorts of things that you probably didn't have in mind when you clicked the Firefox icon (Please wait while we update your extensions....Oops, I couldn't update this extension. Please restart Firefox because I updated this other one. Do you want me to reopen all your old tabs? What about next time? Oh, please update your Firefox! No? Please tell us why! Here, fill out this survey web page which is embedded in this 320x240 pixel window for no reason, and tell us what we can do to improve Firefox.

    Give me a break. I only ever use it for Firebug anymore and even that's becoming more rare as the tools for Safari and Chrome improve. Firefox will be irrelevant within 3 years, and still wondering where they went wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TeXMaster (593524)

      Give me a break. I only ever use it for Firebug anymore and even that's becoming more rare as the tools for Safari and Chrome improve. Firefox will be irrelevant within 3 years, and still wondering where they went wrong.

      Opera's Dragonfly is definitely on par with FF Firebug, if you're still looking for an alternative.

  • While Mozilla does depend on Google for revenue, and Google are technically a competitor, they are not MS...

    Google, like MS are not terribly interested in the browser market and don't make any money from it... The difference is that while MS want to control the browser, stifle the move to web based platform independent applications and lock people in to their platform...
    Google want to promote their web based applications, and couldn't really care less what you use to access them. The reason Chrome exists is

  • by qazwart (261667) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:52PM (#30822622) Homepage

    I don't see any reason why Google would try to harm Firefox. Granted Google has a browser called Chrome, but what Google really wants is for people to use Google as their search engine. With Firefox the most popular engine after IE (and Microsoft wouldn't do anything, but make Bing IE's default search engine), I don't see why Google wouldn't simply extend their deal with FIrefox. They certainly wouldn't want Firefox to move over to Yahoo or Bing.

    The only thing I can see is Google would use their leverage over Firefox to get Firefox to switch from the Gecko to WebKit. That would give Google a unified JavaScript/Web browser engine to run their applications against.

    It's not usually a good thing to have another entity control your future like this, but Firefox really doesn't have a choice now.

  • by Mex (191941) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:26PM (#30823988)

    I'm sorry, but other than the huge advantage that is all the plugins available for Firefox, Opera has always been lightyears ahead of any other browser's features.
    http://operawiki.info/OperaInnovations [operawiki.info]
    Tabbed browsing and Zooming into a webpage are only the two that seem most important and were introduced by Opera, but they have always been incredibly innovative, much more so than Firefox. Yet there's not a big developer following, probably because it is not open source like FF, that's Opera's weakest part I guess, but as a browser, I love it.

  • It's like this.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mweather (1089505) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:46PM (#30824252)
    Google just wants to be the default search engine. So long as Firefox has significant marketshare, Google will sponsor them. If Google drops their sponsorship, Microsoft or Yahoo or any number or regional search engines will step in.

That does not compute.

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