Mozilla raked in almost $600 million in 2022, thanks to Google


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The big picture: In the tech world's rollercoaster ride, Mozilla's hanging on tight with a cool $600 million in its pocket for 2022. The company behind Firefox is not just staying afloat, but thriving with a bit of flair, and its deal with Google has played a big role in it. Having that said, there are challenges ahead for the company.

Mozilla released its financial scorecard for 2022, and they're not just scraping by. The company behind the Firefox browser is making some serious dough, $593 million to be specific. It is a tiny step back from their numbers back in 2021, but still a galloping leap from 2020.

If you're wondering where this cash is coming from, it's mostly from Firefox's biggest rival – Google. Their search engine deal is a golden goose for Mozilla, bringing in a hefty $510 million last year. Despite the revenue generated from the deal with Google which saw a slight decrease compared to the previous year, it is the cornerstone of Mozilla's revenue stream. This decline could be attributed to various factors, including potential losses in user base or other market dynamics.

Mozilla's subscription and advertising revenues also saw a significant uptick, rising to $75 million in 2022. The company has tapped into new revenue streams, including services like Firefox Monitor, Mozilla VPN, and Firefox Relay.

Acquiring reviewing-checking service FakeSpot and the continued growth of Pocket, which it acquired back in 2017, has also contributed to this diversified income.

On the flip side, Mozilla's been spending some of this cash, too, as expenses shot up to $425 million in 2022. This rise is mostly driven by investments in software development, branding, marketing, and administrative costs. These investments are crucial for Mozilla's long-term strategy and remain competitive.

Despite the increased spending, Mozilla's net assets grew by almost $150 million, with total assets now standing at a comfortable $1.19 billion. In 2022, Mozilla and Google renewed their search deal for another three years, and while Mozilla's survival still hinges on search engine deals, other revenue sources point to a somewhat diversified strategy.

While Mozilla is making moves, the salary of CEO Mitchell Baker is making headlines, too. In 2022, she bagged $6.9 million, up $2 million from the previous year, while Firefox saw a dip in its user base, losing about 30 million users since 2020.

In a somewhat related story, I came across an interesting write up this week discussing a guideline from the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS), which might accelerate the decline of Firefox usage. The USWDS sets standards for U.S. government websites, adopting a "2% rule" stating that they only support browsers with over 2% usage based on data.

Firefox is currently measured to have a market share of 2.2%, which is very close to this threshold. The concern is that once Firefox falls below 2%, government websites won't need to support it anymore. This change could influence the broader web development community and corporate IT departments, leading them to also drop Firefox support to reduce development costs and time. This could create a domino effect, further diminishing Firefox's relevance.

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