Firefox-Google deal is up for renewal, is Bing poised to take over?

By on December 5, 2011, 6:30 AM

Firefox is a wonderful piece of software. It single handedly saved us from Internet Explorer 6 when we no longer saw a light at the end of the tunnel. That was back in 2003, however in more recent times the browser has taken a back seat to Google's Chrome browser, which as we reported last week, has gone from an irrelevant 3% market share two years ago to about 25% and counting -- this figure already matches (or nearly so) Firefox's worldwide usage, depending on who you're asking.

Google seems to have pulled an impossible feat by introducing a humble browser project that has taken away from Internet Explorer and Firefox, pushed Opera further down into oblivion, and made a better general use case than Apple's Safari which shares the same WebKit engine.

But there's more to it. As reminded by ZDNet's Ed Bott, Mozilla and the continued development of Firefox is heavily dependent on revenues derived from the Google Toolbar that is built-in the browser. Official numbers released by Mozilla indicate that over 80% of the company's income in 2009 and 2010 came from the Google partnership (approximately $100 million each year).

Furthermore, the Firefox-Google deal was up for renewal this last November. There are a few different interesting angles and directions this could take. First of all, if Google decides to renew the deal, will they offer the same amount or will they use Chrome's increasing market share as leverage to cut down on a competitor? (as we are once again reminded of Google's infamous "don't be evil" motto). If they decide to let go, we are ready to bet Microsoft is willing to stretch their losses on Bing and become Mozilla's new favorite company -- regardless of Internet Explorer. Coincidentally, Firefox began offering a "Firefox with Bing" at the end of October.


Good old Firefox showing Google's search tool on the right.

Then there's mobile. Firefox has been unable to make a dent on the growing smartphone world where all of its competitors seem to dominate at least one portion of the pie: Safari on iOS, Chrome on Android, Opera Mini operates across different platforms with mild to medium success, and Microsoft is making strides for making IE the browser of choice on Windows Phone and eventually on tablets when Windows 8 arrives.

Does this spell an eventual death for Firefox? They sure have lagged on the mobile front, and for a while were very slow to react to Chrome, though a few months later (and subsequent releases fixing speed) I keep using it as my primary desktop browser.

But the bigger question is about funding and the long term. If not Google, will Microsoft come to the rescue? And for the sake of the argument, how about other potentially interested parties? Facebook and Amazon are two other obvious names that could be added to the mix considering Firefox still reaches 25% of the entire Internet.




User Comments: 31

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Guest said:

Actually, it's not up for renewal. It has simply expired, and it doesn't look like it will be renewed. And consider how much Firefox was lagging behind practically every other browser for the last few years even with a >$100 million revenue, I guess this is just simply THE END for Firefox and Mozilla.

Punkid said:

something as mighty as firefox cannot diminish so soon...there are alot of people out there, like me, who think firefox is still much better than chrome...sure chrome feels faster but firefox is so much more customizable...and even though alot of the popular firefox addons are also available on chrome, they're nowhere near as polished as on firefox....i actually switched to chrome and made it work for almost a week, but in the end, i was like " OK now Ive had some fun, back to business" , and i moved back to firefox

tehbanz tehbanz said:

Punkid said:

something as mighty as firefox cannot diminish so soon...there are alot of people out there, like me, who think firefox is still much better than chrome...sure chrome feels faster but firefox is so much more customizable...and even though alot of the popular firefox addons are also available on chrome, they're nowhere near as polished as on firefox....i actually switched to chrome and made it work for almost a week, but in the end, i was like " OK now Ive had some fun, back to business" , and i moved back to firefox

rome didn't fall in a day. I too am a firefox fanboy but I feel now is the time to switch before the inevitable happens. and since i last used chrome (2+ years ago) I hear it's stabilized.

The reason I didn't like chrome was because the UI, however firefox switched over to pretty much the exact same UI, so it's about time i make the plunge i suppose.

Guest said:

Microsoft and Mozilla have already teamed up.

CryVer CryVer said:

The one thing Firefox does about a hundred times better than Chrome is the bookmarking system. It a lot easier to sort your bookmarks, as well as adding new bookmarks.

Guest said:

True, we always had a soft spot for FF.

jonny702 said:

Firefox lost me when they started releasing new versions every 3 weeks.... Now I use the most secure browser available..... IE9

Guest said:

Hey jonny702, remember to use lip balm, when kissing Ballmer's butt.

Guest said:

IE9 secure? lol.

Guest said:

Firefox development will continue to churn along regardless of the drop in users and revenue, simply due to being open-source. I can't see it dying off, the drop in the userbase was inevitable with Google heavily pushing Chrome and Microsoft finally getting their act together with IE, but it will most likely stabilise at some point in the future rather than dwindle away to nothing.

I agree with the previous poster on how annoying the new release schedule is. It's partially the tech media's fault, since they would have an announcement every time Chrome released another inconsequential update, and Mozilla are just trying to achieve the same level of publicity. Downside is, in addition to being asinine and rendered the version number meaningless, it's pissing off their entire userbase, particularly long-term users and those that rely on a lot of add-ons.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I use Chrome but even i'll admit IE9 goes toe toe with all current browsers. IE9 is not a baby anymore... its a true contender. Go to Tom's hardware and see for yourself.

Guest said:

I have been a user of Firefox for years now. This last year it has become so full of Google INTRUSION which keeps tripping my security software and slowing up response times, glitching out any video i want to watch, that I have finally decided to jettison Firefox for good.

I am definately in the market for a good browser that DOES NOT CONNECT TO GOOGLE.

Google has truly become EVIL, intrusive, and just plain awful. Google has in fact, ruined their own search engines with heuristic programming that redirects you to some habit based answer. Did it NEVER OCCUR to them that we DON'T WANT TO BE DIRECTED? When you direct your audience, you are no longer providing the service a search engine should provide. You have fully become a propaganda machine.

So likewise, I am trying to exit the world of Google too.

Guest said:

> Actually, it's not up for re-neweal.

> It has simply expired, and it doesn't

> look like it will be renewed

Wrong. Please don't spread FUD.

See e.g. http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57336776-264/dont-write-of
-mozilla-google-revenue-deal-as-dead/ , http://www.internetnews.com/blog/skerner/mozillas-google-dea
-is-not-dead..html

veLa veLa said:

I used Chrome and liked it a lot but ended up switching back to firefox since I've used it forever.

Guest said:

Firefox 8 is a much improved browser. The previous releases were not very tight and tend to have strange behaviors. Mozilla's Firefox is going forward and is in the game now, but will need to get its browser tied to the mobile and/or tablet market in a hurry to stay relevant.

Guest said:

This reply has been posted using Firefox.

Guest said:

Personally FF is still the 'Browser' for me as its interface is the most friendly

Guest said:

Hope they can coexist peacefully just as the Gecko and Webkit will worked together in my avant browser and have worked together in Lunascape.LOL,

Guest said:

y'all forget this was never about the money for firefox in the 1st place just like how they started up from nothing. just like everything thing in open source. this is just bull **** you're feeding to the masses techspot! :)

bexwhitt said:

I gave up on chrome due to it's non existent RSS support, yey firefox

Guest said:

Generally, you shouldn't have to read on to the 4th paragraph of an article to get to the basic point outlined in the title.

PinothyJ said:

tehbanz said:

rome didn't fall in a day. I too am a firefox fanboy but I feel now is the time to switch before the inevitable happens. and since i last used chrome (2+ years ago) I hear it's stabilized.

The reason I didn't like chrome was because the UI, however firefox switched over to pretty much the exact same UI, so it's about time i make the plunge i suppose.

Chrome is not a very good browser though...

caravel said:

Yawn... more browser X vs browser Y... fanboys are out in force I see...

Guest said:

Not sure if jonny is trolling or if he is actually serious. Either way it made me laugh.

Guest said:

Actually, both Mozilla and Google have both stated in the last couple of days that they are negotiating renewal. The rest of your post is irrelvant and spin.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Really, how difficult is it for an end user to change the home page anyway?

Guest said:

The paragraph about mobile markets is misleading. The Android Browser is not Google Chrome. Although, Honeycomb's browser looks more similar to Chrome than any other Android Browser. Honeycomb was designed for tablet. So, I don't expect ICS's Browser to be much of an improvement on Gingerbread's.

I have used fennec and now Firefox for Android and it's one of the few early-stage Android browsers that I've kept installed. I think the UI in the Android port is amazingly intuitive and that it will easily compete as a browser alternative if development continues.

All this said, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Google's Chrome team has a polished browser available on Android Market.

Guest said:

I've used Firefox for about the last four years and will never use another browser while it's around but if it were to go away I'd switch to Safari or IE before I would ever use a Google product.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

I have & use both Firefox & its relative SeaMonkey & Google Chrome. IMHO Firefox isn't going to die.

No browser is perfect & I've also read some of this [link]

Have a great day

Guest said:

Google Chrome is a buggy product still. Try to watch Netflix with it. It crashes after 45 minutes watching with my win2K3. Can't play many video streams from many websites, corrupts ISO image downloads without any error messages, don't work well with webpages designed with older technologies. On the other hand, FF works well in all websites.

In conclusion, Chrome is an immature product.

Billy Nguyen

learninmypc learninmypc said:

As I previously said, no browser is 100% perfect. I'm using Google Chrome as I type. I found this [link]

a while back & thought I'd try it. Have a lovely day.

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