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Mozilla Businesses Google Open Source The Almighty Buck

Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google 161

An anonymous reader writes Mozilla has released its annual financial report for 2013, and the numbers hint as to why the organization signed a five-year deal with Yahoo, announced by the duo on November 19. Revenue increased just 1 percent, and the organization's reliance on Google stayed flat at 90 percent. The total revenue for the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiaries in 2011 was $163 million, and it increased 90.2 percent to $311 million for 2012. Yet that growth all but disappeared last year, as the total revenue moved up less than 1 percent (0.995 percent to be more precise) to $311 million in 2013. 85 percent of Mozilla's revenue came from Google in 2011, and that figure increased to 90 percent in 2012. While the 90 percent number remained for 2013, it's still a massive proportion and shows Mozilla last year could not figure out a way to differentiate where its money comes from.
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Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google

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  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:12PM (#48438017)

    With 90% of their revenue coming from Google yet they just signed a 5 year deal with Yahoo how is this going to work out? Diversity in revenue streams is good and also getting off the Google teat is really good but I can't help but think that they just cut their own throat.

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:27PM (#48438087) Homepage Journal

      With 90% of their revenue coming from Google yet they just signed a 5 year deal with Yahoo how is this going to work out?

      I guess we'll see, but Yahoo is probably guaranteeing at least as much revenue as Google, for the opportunity to be the default search engine.

      So that gives MoFo five years to have FirefoxOS take over the smartphone market.


      I'm sorry, that was wrong.

      • No, Yahoo is not guaranteeing them as much revenue.

        Google only renewed the previous agreement because their own browser hadn't made enough market penetration.

        Google is on most smartphones sold today, and that's where the growth is. Chrome has enough penetration now that they can, for all intents, ignore firefox. Yahoo knew this, and probably offered them $150 million a year (Google may even have declined to make an offer of renewal - after all, it's no big deal changing your default search engine, an

        • Yahoo knew this, and probably offered them $150 million a year (Google may even have declined to make an offer of renewal

          From the official blog post you'll see that all the options, including a renewal of the Google contract, had stronger economic terms (for mozilla).
          To spell it out: Google offer to renew the contract and to pay more than they currently do.

          I see this partly as a way to diversify revenue, by having different partners in different geographical regions. And as a strategy to avoid a fostering a global search mono-culture.

          • I read the blog post from the Yahoo CEO [], and it didn't say anything of the sort. The Cnet article in the summary also doesn't say that the Google contract had stronger economic terms for Mozilla.

            Mozilla was in a good bargaining position: search engines have been placing a higher value on its search traffic, Baker said.

            ""Both arrangements we were looking at had very good economics," Baker said. "We're utterly confident in our stability and viability going forward."

            My point stands - Google had no incentive to even maintain their current level of financial support, given their continuous increase in Chrome market share and the fact that anyone can switch search engines back to Google just by selecting Google in the dropdown.

      • A search engine doesn't actually guarantee any revenue for Mozilla. They get a cut of the Advertising revenue initiated by a Firefox search (or similar). Firefox needs users to generate the searches. A search engine would pay Mozilla in proportion to the amount of eyeballs it gives them.

        Firefox would be foolish to change the default search to yahoo, as a large proportion would change it back to Google - but not all. They would effectively be dividing the profitability of their user base. The sort of peo
        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          Is this payment only for search from the default Firefox 'home page'? Or do they get payed for searches from the location bar?

    • If *anyone* made a browser that containerized the ad-world (like google, facebook and yahoo), that browser would become the only browser that people used. Hence Mozilla's revenue. Online advertising is one entrepreneur away from complete death.
      • This is a profoundly incorrect assertion. Maybe, sure, techgeeks and other people who are allergic to this kind of stuff would use it, but everyone else? No way. And would you really use a browser that blocked gmail? Do you really think everyone else would?

      • In the real world, people care about as much about their browser as they do about tires.
        Put the tires on and shut up... Radial? Winter tires? Siping?
        Shut your stupid mouth and make my car go! I'm missing The real housewives!

    • well if you read the article, revenue is only up %1. Combine with 90% of revenue comes from google. Combine with massive growth in previous years

      It should be obvious:

      Google obviously isn't paying mozilla anymore money, and Yahoo is probably paying them even more money that Google was.

  • Who cares (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )

    Maybe if they spent more time and resources on their project and less time and resources on "gender issues", they wouldn't be circling the toilet.

    Their organization been corrupted at the highest levels. It's not going to be repaired. It'll just degenerate further until the project is forked or dies with a whimper.

    • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2014 @11:09PM (#48438829)

      As a Mozilla employee, yes, the organization is corrupted. Not by "gender issues" but by people who are milking the money.
      Employees are paid under the average (and don't get me wrong some of them are very smart and very hard working), but there's dozen of directors and VPs which are coming for coffee every now and then and naming their friends with similar titles and self congratulating if they work a couple of month a year and maybe over night once or twice (while others work week ends, night shifts, etc every fucking day). These guys are not paid under average, they get 250k+ for showing up a few times a week (due to the remote culture at Mozilla, they don't actually show up every day of the week - if they don't show up that also mean no reply to emails, etc. Unreachable.)

      As long as there is money an the CEO isn't exactly a ballsy one that will not change. I don't know if that will kill Mozilla that fast though. People who work there are in it for the opensource/mission/etc. Still, we're far from realizing our full potential. So far.

      AC obviously... and I'm quite tempted to just list all their names.

      • Gee, the people who ran Netscape in the ground leave when thrown out of Sun ... and milk the name and open source buzzwords ...


        Mozilla is just another Netscape. Not impressive, just riding a wave, and falling behind. The only thing that gave them any hope was IE dominating and being that that is long over and everything Mozilla does is done 10 times better by someone else ... well, the writing has been on the while for years.

        Then they go and switch from the winning search engine to the biggest lo

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        It sounds like high-ups at the Mozilla Foundation are a bunch of usurpers that managed to take 'ownership' of an open source project and turn it into a cash cow for themselves. Not saying they didn't do a good job of popularizing Firefox back in the days when getting the general public to download a replacement browser for IE was a hard job. But it seems like that mission's been accomplished, and they're all too happy to simply coast as long as they can collect their outsize salaries.

        Why don't you serious

      • by chrish ( 4714 )

        This pretty much sounds like every corporation to me; executives are constantly soaking the company and providing poor value for the amount of resources they're absorbing.

        Good ol' crony capitalism is going to send the work back into a feudal state...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Almost everyone except Microsoft is ignoring email clients...

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      That's because it's really hard to compete with outlook. It's an exceptionally solid email client.

      P.S. I'm a Thunderbird/Fossamail user myself.

      • by M1FCJ ( 586251 )

        Seriously? Occassionaly I use that turd at work (usually use Thunderbird), half the time it crashes, sorry, stops responding and then offers me to search for a resolution, losing my draft in the process. If you are writing an important mail, it must be avoided.

        • Stop using shitting plugins with it. Probably because you installed the LinkedIn data theif or the shitty Adobe PDF plugins which crash everything they touch.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:19PM (#48438047)

    That is a lot of money. What could they possibly be spending it on because it certainly isn't firefox. I mean... it is a nice browser... but.... 314 million?

    I'm a little flabbergasted by these numbers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Macbooks and UI designers

      • Nowadays it's not called UI, but UX. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that interfaces are turning into shit.

        • "Nowadays it's not called UI, but UX."

          Well that's news to me about ux. But I do agree, the UI changes were the reason I switched back to IE. Personally all the browser suck one way or another nowadays
          • Are you kidding me? IE's interface is utter shit, as bad as Chrome. At least on Firefox you can set it up to a modicum of normalcy, especially with the Classic Theme Restorer add-on.

    • That is a lot of money. What could they possibly be spending it on because it certainly isn't firefox. I mean... it is a nice browser... but.... 314 million?

      I'm a little flabbergasted by these numbers.

      Some people never learned the lessons of Dot Com 1.0. Remember when Eazel got $20 million worth of venture capital just to make a file manager for Gnome?

    • What could they possibly be spending it on

      How many version updates/upgrades did they release in 2014? I'm guessing the endless line of version updates/upgrades/bugfixing. I stopped using it when they removed the bottom bar. I don't like the top all cluttered up with endless bars and icons. But that's just me, but me counts the most.
      • What could they possibly be spending it on

        How many version updates/upgrades did they release in 2014?

        Someone got a copyright on numbers and the licensing fees to name all those new versions gets rather expensive.

      • I found that annoying as well. I had to install a lot of different extensions to effectively roll the UI back. It looks classic now. But it was a pain in the ass to do it.

        I'm used to this sort of thing though. Did the same thing for my windows 7 laptop. It has all the classic menus and attributes I got used to in XP. I had to manually modify arcane registry entries and install a lot of third party UI hacks though.

    • It would be very interesting to know who gets the $314 million every year.

      During the same years that easy Google millions have been pouring in, Mozilla Foundation has become much more sloppily managed, it seems to me.

      Firefox has become much less stable in the past few years when many windows and tabs are open for a long time. The most recent version crashes without activating the crash reporter. Instead of fixing the crashes, Mozilla Foundation has prevented reporting of them.

      Apparently Mozilla Fou
      • This has largely been my experience as well. I don't understand why we're not seeing a lot more from this company when their budget is 100 times I had imagined.

    • by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Saturday November 22, 2014 @01:29AM (#48439095) Homepage

      That is a lot of money. What could they possibly be spending it on because it certainly isn't firefox. I mean... it is a nice browser... but.... 314 million?

      Disclaimer I work at Mozilla... There is obviously a lot of development, not just Firefox and FirefoxOS, but also research projects like rust, servo (new browser engine), daala (video codec). Followed by an end-less line of smaller projects, services and what not. For example I work on a project called TaskCluster which runs tasks (currently only docker containers on AWS spot nodes); the goal of this project is to make our CI infrastructure faster, cheaper and easier to configure (more self-serve; and more cloud based).

      But this is only the development things... Mozilla does things ranging from lobby work (net neutrality to name one); to education and campaigns for this (See webmaker parties). Sometimes I'm surprised to see all the things that goes on at Mozilla.

      A lot of what Mozilla does yields little obvious results... A lot of it is high risk (from a business perspective)... A lot of it has no business perspective at all. But Mozilla is not about money, it was we should really dump a lot of the projects that goes on :)

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Translation: Our core business (browsers) is so ridiculously profitable and since our mission is open ended we can spend it on almost any pet project we like. Sounds like a good opportunity for a smaller and more focused group to create a better fork and run off with the market, but what do I know. It seems Firefox was initially a two-three man project (depending on which page I look at) that rebelled against the Mozilla suite, with ~17% market share (according to StatCounter) being worth $300 million then

        • by jopsen ( 885607 )

          Translation: Our core business (browsers) is so ridiculously profitable and since our mission is open ended we can spend it on almost any pet project we like.

          I don't speak on behalf of Mozilla; let's be very clear about that.

          Anyways, if you wanted to do a startup, or a small and focused group, you can certainly find more lucrative opportunities (also open source), than writing a web-browser. Granted I don't touch much gecko code, but it's my clear impression from co-workers (and the few patches I've done) that moving it forward is not easy.

          By the way, a lot of things still is happening in Firefox. Try out the latest nightly, it comes with process isolation

      • [] [] []

        Sorry, I'd feel like I'm doing myself a disservice by not hassling you.
        P.S The stability is getting better again but the performance goes to the utter shitter with 100 tabs, memory usage is bananas (I'm ok with that, to an extent) but it feels like a leak, not actually using the memory efficiently.

      • For the love of god, please get Mozilla to update Thunderbird into a more robust email client. The damn thing is embarrassing sometimes.

        Anyway, while I'm sure Mozilla does a lot of stuff, that number still shocks me. I had no idea your team was that large. Every time I hear about Mozilla, I hear about them being starved for cash and on the brink of shutting down Firefox. Then I see this budget and have to wonder what the hell they are talking about.

        An idea might be to save some of that money for a rainy day

  • Free Software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MSG ( 12810 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:25PM (#48438075)

    A lot of us benefit from Free Software. Android is primarily developed by Google, so it has a steady source of funding. GNU/Linux has a large community of volunteers, but is honestly developed primarily by businesses that get revenue from server support contracts (Red Hat, Intel, SuSE, IBM, Google, to name a few).

    Firefox is, by a host of measures, the best browser available. If I'm reading arewefastyet properly, it's the browser with the fastest Javascript engine now. The last time I checked, it's the smallest download. It uses the least RAM. It starts fastest. It supports plugins on all platforms, including mobile.

    The browser is key to practically every Internet service, and they all really should be contributing to the development of the one browser that's fully Free Software. Sadly, unlike Android and GNU/Linux, Firefox is essentially ad-supported. It's a bad situation for us, the users.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:35PM (#48438125)

    They spend $200M/year on software development -- have browsers become so complicated that Mozilla and associated projects need 1000+ developers?

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:44PM (#48438179)

      Isn't it interesting how, as Mozilla becomes more and more corporate, their software seems to become less and less what people really want? Stupid features and interface changes no one wants are landing in the code and bugs from real users go unresolved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Microlith ( 54737 )

        Stupid features and interface changes no one wants

        Better to just never, ever change, right?

        bugs from real users go unresolved.

        Whereby "real users" are... who exactly? What obscure bug have you hit, and how does my not hitting it make me not a "real user."

        • Better to just never, ever change, right?

          Change for the sake of change is just a waste of everyone's time, since they need to adapt to the new way of doing things. If your little changes don't have practical benefits, then they're just useless, and worse, harmful.

          • I agree 150% they took the bottom bar away. Wont bring it back so I switched back to IE. Plus the gay thing That sucks too but ya have to make a statement only way stop using it and I did.
        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

          Cursor disappears:

          I've seen this bug umpteen times over the years, why would Mozilla not try to fix it? Also a text selection bug that they clearly have no interest in fixing.

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          Better to just never, ever change, right?

          Well, if your user base is happy with how things are... why should you change? To piss off them off when they are used to the old interface, to interrupt their workflow? Wouldn't they appreciate the time (and money in this case) be instead spent on things they do want -- like a faster browser, or less memory usage, since those are the two thing people are always crowing about.

          Change for change's sake is the sort of thing Microsoft does -- when they're desperate to try and get people to pay attention to them

      • by khchung ( 462899 )

        Stupid features and interface changes no one wants are landing in the code and bugs from real users go unresolved.

        Because that's how large corporation lead by non-tech management works. Two developers, one said "I added a new feature X", the other said "I fixed Y number of bugs", guess which one got more bonus? Guess what would developers flock to do after that?

    • A colleague of mine left our company to go work for them. I asked myself the same question....WHY? He loves developing web apps, and that's what he and evidently quite a large team of people are doing. Big bunch of people working on FireFox OS, bunch working on Apps to try and show off features and draw developers to their OS...and a phone...that's cheap, and runs web apps. There are lots of things I kind of like about what they're trying to do...but I admit it seems doomed to failure or just...meh.

    • by jmv ( 93421 )

      Yes, browsers have indeed become so complicated. It's not just Mozilla, Google's putting even more resources on Chrome than what Mozilla can afford. A browser is now essentially an operating system (see FirefoxOS) that can do pretty much everything *and* needs to do it in a way that's secure against untrusted code (JS). On top of that, Mozilla is involved in projects that reach beyond just the web, like the Opus [] audio codec and the Daala [] video codec that I'm personally involved in (there's many more of cour

    • by BZ ( 40346 )

      Browsers are pretty complicated, yes. Things like low-latency high-performance VMs, hardware-accelerated video pipelines, plus the details, like actual HTML parsing, CSS layout, a network stack, and so forth. Also, what matters is not just the complication but how fast you're trying to change things, and people are adding new things (flexbox, more complicated CSS layout modes, mode DOM APIs, etc) faster than ever before.

      But also, in addition to a browser Mozilla is working on FirefoxOS, which involves a w

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:36PM (#48438137)

    How do you spend 1/3 a billion $ and get Firefox?

    I mean, seriously, help me out here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Microlith ( 54737 )

      You get Firefox and a decent amount of research. From my perspective it's money well spent.

    • Just having that much money means that the organization becomes bloated, and then produces worse and worse software due to design-by-committee and such.

      • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

        Exactly. Gotta keep adding features to justify the money long after the point that new features are much needed. And we end up with things like the awful bar and a disappearing title-bar mounted menu that stops working every few days on my system

    • by twdorris ( 29395 )

      Presumably a good chunk goes into keeping the accommodations, uh, humble.... []

      It's funny how well an organization can get along working out of a simple little office building until they have money coming in and then they need a big, fancy headquarters.

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Not sure if my answer helps but once an open source or free product becomes dominant in an area (like web browsers), there is little/no chance that a commercial product can even enter the market, let alone survive. That's true with the web browser market today, all dominant web browsers are free (IE, firefox, safari, chrome etc.).

      These free browsers have a monopoly because the barrier to entry is huge (million$ to build a web browser from scratch) but little chance of recouping that investment by giving it

  • Not that it bothers me as I un-installed Firefox when they had their witch hunt against one of their founders. I have been using Chrome ever since.
  • by sizzlinkitty ( 1199479 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:54PM (#48438229)

    As a long time Mozilla support who flipped out when firefox updated with sponsored ads the other day. What is the next best windows based browser that doesn't report back your browsing habits to the mothership?

  • So why are they moving to Yahoo again?
  • $311 Million (Score:4, Interesting)

    by giorgist ( 1208992 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:56PM (#48438235)
    $311 Million and they are circling the toilet !! What are they spending it on. I am sure they can rationalise their team and their product range. If it is profitability they want, they should focus in that direction and is find out what made them profitable, which might not be what is bringing in the money. Note Google makes money by selling our analytics but it is their presence on other fronts which makes them a household name.
  • A lot of talk about how and what they do with all the money Isn't Mozilla/FF a non profit? isn't there limits as to what they can spend the money on? don't know that's why I ask.
    • by jopsen ( 885607 )
      Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit, it owns Mozilla Corporation which is a for-profit entity.
  • Pi hundred million. Nothing more to say, but I'm guessing if I don't add more I will run into the lameness filter.

  • Every American gave them a dollar (in a manner of speaking). What, now they want two? What if we just have more kids? It appears the economy depends on it.

  • Can someone explain in non-accounting terms what is the financial construction between the two? Are these results really from the foundation or from a combination of the revenue from both? Thanks.
  • With all due respect the browser has been kinda going to heck lately. Lots of performance and stability issues. I guess there's the phone, but it's not even popular enough to call it a flop. It's a complete non-starter. Where's the money going?
    • Cha the last week alone I had to uninstall Chrome from three seperate machines, it was crashing and opening multiple windows with no good explanation why, and no fix that actually worked.

      You can always go back to IE I guess.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky