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Mozilla Google The Almighty Buck

Mozilla's 2012 Annual Report: 90% of Revenue Came From Google 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-basket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released its annual financial report for 2012, and while revenue is up quite substantially, the organization's reliance on Google continues to grow. In 2011, 85 percent of Mozilla's revenue came from Google. In 2012, the figure increased to 90 percent."
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Mozilla's 2012 Annual Report: 90% of Revenue Came From Google

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  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:18PM (#45486899) Journal

    It's because instead of listening to what the users want, they plow ahead with stupid UI-redesigns to make Firefox a slower, buggier Chrome clone. I mean sure, the new UI is spiffy, but they can't fix a nearly ten year old bug with find [mozilla.org].

    • Mozilla is like a small business with 1 huge client. The client leaves and there goes the business. Regardless of internal politics within Mozilla, Google owns Mozilla, plain and simple.
    • by vux984 (928602)

      but they can't fix a nearly ten year old bug with find

      I looked at the bug; its for a bug with find in an xml document. In ten years of using firefox I can't remember the last time I opened an xml document with it; and I've probably opened fewer than a dozen. And I'm a software dev (there are just much better dedicated tools for the job than firefox). The average user doesn't open xml directly at all, except by accident.

      That's not to say its not a bug or that it shouldn't be fixed, but I can sort of understa

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:20PM (#45486907)

    ... And we wonder why they backed off the Do Not Track, why plugins are no longer being vetted to ensure they're actually doing what they say, etc. Guys... How much more evidence do you need that Google is evil -- they're sending vans in your neighborhood, taking pictures of your houses, collecting your wifi network names, OTA traffic, embedding realtime tracking into your phones, and the list goes on. We piss ourselves like excited dogs at the prospect of the NSA spying on us (Sorry but you just aren't that interesting), but when Google does ten times that and is whoring out your personal data like it has a crack addiction, we find people saying "Ah, well, it's a convenience, and how else do you expect us to get all these nifty apps if we don't surrender all our privacy and have advertisements shoved down our throats?"

    And now they've infected the only major open source software browser out there. And it's just a matter of time before they pull the rug out from under the organization and it implodes. But it's cool... you can always upgrade to Chrome. And as a bonus... it'll happily store every interaction you make with your browser on Google's servers. Isn't that... convenient?

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:44PM (#45487053)

      "And we wonder why they backed off the Do Not Track ..."

      The only thing they "backed off" from was a a default setting. Big deal. IIRC, they were the first to even include that feature in their browser.

      They also support -- and highly recommend -- a plugin that lets you see ALL the "3rd parties" who are tracking you when you visit a website. AFAIK there is still no other browser that offers such functionality. Not even Ghostery does the same job.

      "And now they've infected the only major open source software browser out there."

      How? How have they "infected" it? The only thing going on here is that they get royalties from Google ads... as do many, many other people and companies. Has Google "infected" them, too? If you run some Google ads are you "infected"?

      Mozilla was not always getting most of its revenue from Google, Google isn't "giving" them the money, it's from ads, and Google's disappearance tomorrow would not make Mozilla "implode". They'd just have to advertise elsewhere.

      I think you have extremely grossly overstated your case.

      • > They also support -- and highly recommend -- a plugin
        > that lets you see ALL the "3rd parties" who are tracking you

        Which plugin is that? And is it free software?

        Thanks,

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Mozilla was not always getting most of its revenue from Google, Google isn't "giving" them the money, it's from ads, and Google's disappearance tomorrow would not make Mozilla "implode". They'd just have to advertise elsewhere.

        You're right, up to 2005 Mozilla got most their money from their AOL sugar daddy, but ever since they've had to make money on their own it's been overwhelmingly Google, it was 85% in 2006 and 90% now in 2013. They've never had any significant non-Google revenue. It's not ads, it's overwhelmingly search engine referrals which means that if Google ended their business relationship with Mozilla they'd have to change their default search engine to either Bing or Yahoo (same thing really) to get referral royalti

      • Mozilla was not always getting most of its revenue from Google,

        It has been for many, many, many years, and thats really not a big deal. The terrible thing google got in return was to be the default search provider in firefox-- which most people (statistically speaking) wanted anyways.

    • If Google had that much say over what Mozilla does, Firefox would have switched from NPAPI to PPAPI (Pepper) and would have started supporting Native Client a long time ago.
    • And we wonder why they backed off the Do Not Track,

      Because it was an awful idea, and everyone pushing it has one of the following issues:

      • They dont understand how the internet works
      • They dont understand how ad-supported websites work
      • They dont understand how Do Not Track theoretically works
      • They dont understand (or refuse to accept) human nature

      Asking a webserver, "will you please not track me? In return, Im more likely to visit your site" can work. Having every single browser ask that question means the answer will be "no", because youre effectively asking t

  • Despite engineers from high traffic websites such as Facebook begging Mozilla to implement it in the hopes of saving bandwidth costs, and despite plenty of success stories for those who implemented it only for Chrome, they still continue do deny the format a chance. [mozilla.org].
    Meanwhile, the internet still lacks a lossy compression image format that supports alpha transparency... Thank you Mozilla!
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:30PM (#45486969)

    As I see it, there are two main problems with this situation:

    (1) The obvious - that Google will have undue influence over Mozilla's design decisions. Some will argue that is impossible, etc. Maybe so, but money talks.

    (2) The less obvious - that Google will fall on hard times and Mozilla will find themselves high and dry. Some people argue that Bing and other search engines also bid to be default search engine in Firefox so Mozilla could just switch to one of them for a nearly equivalent revenue stream. But the main reason there were other bids is because Google is so dominate. If Google tanks, then the other search engines will be in a stronger position and won't need Mozilla as much as they do today. So the money they are likely to offer will also be reduced.

    • "As I see it, there are two main problems with this situation:"

      Why do you consider [1] to be a problem?

      Did you read TFA? The "revenue" in question here is royalties from advertisements. Many, many other people & companies get royalties from Google for advertisements. Do you claim that Google is likely to "influence" all of them, too?

      It's advertising revenue. If it isn't Google, it's going to be someone else. And it doesn't give Google any "leverage".

      • "As I see it, there are two main problems with this situation:"

        Why do you consider [1] to be a problem?

        Did you read TFA? The "revenue" in question here is royalties from advertisements. Many, many other people & companies get royalties from Google for advertisements. Do you claim that Google is likely to "influence" all of them, too?

        It's advertising revenue. If it isn't Google, it's going to be someone else. And it doesn't give Google any "leverage".

        No, you don't understand what is happening.

        A default installation of Firefox contains a Google search box. This means that when people want to search for something they are most likely to use that search box, which dives traffic to Google, which greatly improves Google's chance of making money from the ads associated with search results.

        In return for Mozilla putting a Google search box in Firefox, Google currently pays Mozilla $300 Million a year. That's just under a billion dollars over the course of th

        • "A default installation of Firefox contains a Google search box. This means that when people want to search for something they are most likely to use that search box, which dives traffic to Google, which greatly improves Google's chance of making money from the ads associated with search results."

          Okay. Fine. BUT... whenever I install a fresh version of Firefox on a machine, the first thing I do is get rid of the Google search box. It takes 3 moue clicks plus one drag and drop. It literally takes 3 seconds.

          I repeat: if it weren't Google they'd be getting ad revenue from somewhere else.

          People who use Firefox are, by and large, not the same group that use Chrome and Safari. They are far more likely to customize their browser, and tend to be more familiar with how to do it. (Else they likely would

        • Do not track is off by default because turning it on by default would literally make it a useless standard.

          • would literally make it a useless standard.

            No, I'm pretty sure that was accomplished during the design phase. Anything that relies on advertisers "following the rules" is a failure from the word go. They're just spammers with banner ads.

    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:59PM (#45487157)

      Google doesn't write a check to Firefox out of kindness. They get a cut of ad impressions from search referrals, just like any site that links their search to Google.

      It's a big check because every time you search Google with Firefox then click an ad that results in a sale Mozilla gets a referral credit. The higher ad rates are the more money they get for click through. This is why Mozilla's Firefox revenue continues to grow, ad revenue (due to ad prices increasing) is going up and the part Google shares with referrals is a fixed percentage of that increasing price. When internet ad prices fell Mozilla's revenue from referrals went down, when they go up the amount goes up.

      Because they are getting the money from the referral program there is no direct money and little to no influence. You could get the same referral money if you could write software that people used to search Google with. If anything Google is more beholden to Mozilla because of the amount of traffic Mozilla kicks towards Google. For example, if Mozilla were to switch the default search in Firefox to Bing Google would lose a significant number of searches and ad impressions. This is one of the reasons Google built the Chrome browser, they didn't want to be so dependent on Mozilla and every user using Chrome means a smaller Cut to Mozilla and more money Google retains.

      Yes, Mozilla needs the money, but changing the default to Bing would harm Google more than Mozilla and ultimately keeping that default setting on Google is far more important to Google which basically limits or even eliminates Google's influence over Mozilla.

      • by quantaman (517394)

        Checking the search dropdown:

        Google, Yahoo, bing, Amazon, DuckDuckGo, eBay, twitter, Wikipedia

        I'm pretty sure Wikipedia doesn't give a referral kickback, what about the others? How much do they pay? The contract between Mozilla and Firefox isn't the standard ad referral contract, there's only 4 big browsers, Chrome, Safari, IE, and Mozilla. Google doesn't care about referral revenue for their own browser, and IE is owned by their biggest competitor, Apple might be interested but they've already got a ton of

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          Mozilla gives those options because users want them. Wikipedia may not be paying, but it's genuinely useful. Amazon and eBay might be paying, but honestly, they're well-known enough that Mozilla would probably include them even if they weren't paying.

          Likewise, if Google stopped paying, they'd likely still be in the dropdown list since they're so popular for search, and easily a worthwhile search engine. They just would not be the default (or, since you can configure the default, the "default" default, as it

          • by quantaman (517394)

            So I don't think it's a current threat since the default search is such a valuable commodity, but it's scary if it's their only major source of revenue.

            The cash is so big now because Microsoft bid it up to try and steal the default away from Google. If something happens to make that default less valuable (MS pulls back on bing or something comes along and upends the search business) Mozilla loses a huge chunk of their funding. It's just an incredibly volatile revenue stream.

            • Its been their major source of revenue for more than 7 years now. It stopped being scary after year 3 or 4, when nothing happened, firefox didnt die, and they didnt turn into AOL 2.0.

    • by MacDork (560499)

      The web is broken anyway. CAs can't be trusted. Client-Server architecture funnels all data into what amounts to massive NSA honeypots. And look, we're right back to where we were with Windows/IE, except now it's Android/Blink with Google propping up Mozilla to pretend they are competitors.

      On the developer end of things, HTML5 sucks. We still can't even rename buttons on a javascript confirm dialog. You need something like SASS just to make CSS usable, and God help you if you have a client that wants tables

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        the web broke the day they stopped separating tagged elements from how they RENDER.

        for those that forgot - the web was NEVER supposed to by wizzywig. the browser (lynx, included) was supposed to render the way it saw fit. you want that button on the bottom right? too bad - the browser decided otherwise. deal with it. the browser knows best about the user's screen size, font size, etc.

        but nooooo. the web went 'all microsoft' (to coin a phrase) and they perverted the golden idea of content being NOT ti

        • the web broke about 10 yrs ago and its been getting worse every year.

          The average consumer who demanded wysiwyg, the massive growth of the internet over the last 15 years, and the utter failure of any sizeable population to use local CSS to modify web content, all disagree with you.,

    • (1) The obvious - that Google will have undue influence over Mozilla's design decisions. Some will argue that is impossible, etc. Maybe so, but money talks.

      Its been more than 7 years with Google being the biggest sponsor, and that hasnt happened yet. Its a little late to be ringing the alarm bells.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:32PM (#45486979)

    Another, perhaps more likely possibility, is that Google is worrying about what could happen if they didn't fund Mozilla:

    1) a direct competitor like Amazon or Microsoft might step in to take their place

    -or-

    2) FF could move in a direction of privacy advocacy, and set up defaults that would defeat the tracking and content-pushing policies of big sites like Google and Macromedia

  • An enviable position (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @09:49PM (#45487083)

    What a position to be in: you give away all your products but are well funded by a wealthy patron. Yet the patron gives away a product comparable to your primary product, and gives away a service that provides many of the features of your secondary product.

    Wealthy patrons are nothing new, and those who rely on patronage have always been in a precarious position. But rarely have they been in direct competition with their patrons.

  • So, 85% to 90% in one year. Must be reporting revenues using Firefox/Google version numbers.

  • I find it interesting that Google effectively sponsors competition to their Chrome browser. I wonder if it's to keep pressure up against Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @11:55PM (#45487835) Journal
    Seriously, it would be to their benefit to invest this into companies so that they can pull dividends over a long period of time. And it should ones that are OSS friendly.
  • I almost wish the Google contribution were 0% so they'd stop adding god damned useless "features" to what should be elegant and simple: A browser and an email package.

    I don't want built-in PDF readers and video codecs and all that other crap their shovelling into it lately. If I want that functionality I'll install it. Don't shove it down my throat!

    • by Microlith (54737)

      I don't want built-in PDF readers

      Placing a wager on the security of Adobe are we?

      video codecs

      Mozilla has only included one, I believe, and was not a significant overall size increase.

      all that other crap

      When IE and Chrome include it, it's a feature, when Firefox includes it, it's crap. I guess Mozilla can do no right by Slashdot.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Friday November 22, 2013 @12:33AM (#45488007) Homepage
    22 employees get an average of $188,000, 3000 volunteers get zero.

    https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/2012_Mozilla_Form_990-Public_Disclosure.pdf [mozilla.com]
  • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:29AM (#45489001) Journal
    Most of the contributions are not financial in an open-source project. So if you focus on money only, you can only get irrelevant results.

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