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Mozilla Made $163 Million Last Year – From Google!

Sites include , . Published on November 16th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Mozilla is doing pretty well for a non-profit; in fact, things have got better for Mozilla since 2010 and much of that has been tied largely to the fortunes of Google. This is hard to believe that one of Mozilla’s creations, Firefox, is a direct competitor for Google Chrome. But such are the strange relationships and symbioses in tech that it’s hardly surprising.

In terms of actual numbers, Mozilla saw revenues in 2011 of $163 million—a 33% increase on the $123 million it made in 2010. Google continues to power much of that revenue growth with a 85% contribution to overall earnings.

Search contracts are lucrative

Mozilla and Google have had their differences, but the one thing that Mozilla has kept sight of is Google’s importance to the non-profit. The lucrative deal that sees Google being the default search engine in Firefox has helped Mozilla stay afloat for years and renewal of that contract last year is only proof that without Google, Firefox, may not even exist.

Since Mozilla has no direct way of charging people to use its products, these partnerships are important. The non-profit has similar search deals with Microsoft’s Bing, but the largest chunks of its users prefer Google. Other areas of the Mozilla operation rely heavily on Google too; many of the Foundation’s products are tied heavily into search and the “powered by Google” tag is very much present.

Mozilla helping to shape the free web

The fact that the Mozilla Foundation makes money at all will be seen with scepticism but that would be unfair. The level of programming and development that goes into all of the free products pushed out by the company has to be funded in some way. What perhaps should be lauded is Mozilla’s commitment to the free and open web. The partnership with Google is perhaps necessary act on Mozilla’s part.

There are few products and services on the web that are as unfettered as Firefox and Thunderbird; throw in the fact that both compete with heavily commercialized products and you can see just how effective and productive Mozilla has been in promoting its philosophy.

Mozilla Chair, Mitchell Baker believed that the Foundation will continue to be a big part of the free web moving forward: “after 20 years of developing the Web, we can now see how the Web can make yet another leap in its usefulness, fun, business opportunities and social benefit.”

Mozilla detractors should focus on helping the foundation stay relevant. The last few years has seen a massive erosion of use of Mozilla’s products and Firefox now sits behind Internet Explorer and Google Chrome—both are built to make money and the more and more they erode Firefox’s market share, the less free the web will be. If Bakers’ vision is to hold fast, it is going to take a lot of effort from users and anyone who has a vested interest in keeping a place on the web for non-commercial endeavors.

Do you think it cynical that Mozilla make as profit each year from its non-profit work? Share your thoughts below.

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