The DOJ antitrust lawsuit against Google could have collateral consequences for Mozilla...

onetheycallEric

Posts: 217   +42
Staff member
The big picture: Mozilla's problems seem to keep coming as it struggles to build out a more diverse product and service portfolio in an effort to diversify its revenue model. Meanwhile, the company relies heavily on business deals with Google to fund its operation and product development. 2020 has already been a turbulent year for the browser maker, and as new legal proceedings against Google move forward, the years ahead may be even tougher, as Mozilla could get caught in the middle.

Yesterday, we learned of the massive, landmark antitrust case the Department of Justice is bringing against Google for alleged monopolistic practices in search. The news brings back shades of the past, when Microsoft was in the antitrust hot seat over Windows and Internet Explorer in the late 1990s.

It isn't a surprise that Google maintains lucrative deals with partners such as Mozilla and Apple in order to secure its search engine as the default option in web browsers like Firefox and Safari. The amount Google is willing to pay is in the magnitude of billions every year.

Mozilla is striving to diversify its revenue streams, but it's becoming clear it can't play both sides of the fence anymore

However, these practices have long been scrutinized and the new DOJ antitrust lawsuit specifically calls these deals out as "generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization."

As expected, Google showed up to fervently refute the lawsuit, calling it "deeply flawed." More interestingly, however, is Mozilla showing up with its own defensive stance. After all, this isn't Mozilla's first rodeo with antitrust and anti-competitive lawsuits -- Mozilla and its Netscape Navigator browser were a key part of the case against Microsoft in the nineties.

Mozilla shared its reaction to Google's antitrust lawsuit in a blog post...

In this new lawsuit, the DOJ referenced Google’s search agreement with Mozilla as one example of Google’s monopolization of the search engine market in the United States. Small and independent companies such as Mozilla thrive by innovating, disrupting and providing users with industry leading features and services in areas like search. The ultimate outcomes of an antitrust lawsuit should not cause collateral damage to the very organizations – like Mozilla – best positioned to drive competition and protect the interests of consumers on the web.

Mozilla is in an interesting position. On the one hand, it often paints itself as the anti-Google, championing privacy and consumer choice. Yet, at the same time, it relies on something of a symbiotic partnership with the search giant for a significant part of its revenue stream. Mozilla is striving to diversify its revenue streams, but it's becoming clear it can't play both sides of the fence anymore.

Google and Mozilla's recently renewed partnership is estimated to be worth as much as $450 million per year, through 2023. Take into account that Mozilla has recently suffered rounds of layoffs and has already ceded browser market share to Microsoft's Edge, and it becomes clear why Mozilla is concerned about being caught as collateral damage in the DOJ's lawsuit against Google.

Making things even more precarious is just how much Mozilla depends on its partnership with Google.

In 2018, 91% of Mozilla's revenue came from deals with search engine providers, primarily Google. As this lawsuit progresses, it could very well fray the agreements Google has with Apple, as well as other phone and browser makers.

Image credit: Koshrio K, Michael Vi

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zamroni111

Posts: 147   +111
Instead of chromium, microsoft should use firefox for new edge. It would have ensure firefox life.
Chromium also had inherent blurry text problem in windows that is still not fixed for years
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,461   +6,134
Instead of chromium, microsoft should use firefox for new edge. It would have ensure firefox life.
Chromium also had inherent blurry text problem in windows that is still not fixed for years
In the EU windows lets you choose which browser to install by default. It should just be that way everywhere IMO. The same should apply to mobile operating systems as well.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 334   +405
Firefox previously made a 3 year deal with Yahoo to make them the default search engine in the US in 2014, so Google isn't the only business in town. They have deals signed with other search engines in other countries as well.

Whether this would happen again (to provide enough revenue for Mozilla) is a different question though. I think that with a chance to gain significant market share in the wake of this lawsuit, maybe one of them would be willing to pay big bucks for being the default choice.

Source for going to Yahoo: https://www.cnet.com/news/in-major-shift-firefox-to-use-yahoo-search-by-default-in-us/
And leaving Yahoo: https://www.zdnet.com/article/googl...h-engine-again-after-mozilla-ends-yahoo-deal/
 
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bviktor

Posts: 273   +476
In the EU windows lets you choose which browser to install by default. It should just be that way everywhere IMO. The same should apply to mobile operating systems as well.
That only existed between 2010 and 2014, it made no sense, and literally everyone hated it.
 

Irata

Posts: 994   +1,470
TechSpot Elite
Or maybe Mozilla should've adopted an actual business model instead of becoming essentially a pet project for Google.
Firefox is a convenient way for Google to say that Chrome is not the only way in town. If you are the major player in a field, it‘s always useful to be able to present an „alternative“, an ideally one that will never be a danger.

Imho, Firefox should also not be a corporate entity but rather an enthusiast driven project with minimal paid support staff.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,107   +914
[EU Browser install choice]
only existed between 2010 and 2014, it made no sense, and literally everyone hated it.
Not only did people hate it, but it had no real effect on the situation, and no benefit whatsoever for consumers. And in any case, the antitrust problem with Google revolves around their search engine, not Chrome. Google in its pre-Chrome days was still engaged in the same anticompetitive practices.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,212   +4,972
In the EU windows lets you choose which browser to install by default. It should just be that way everywhere IMO. The same should apply to mobile operating systems as well.
The Eu is the best babysitter dummkopfs far and wide could ever hope for.. I can't even remember the last time >I< started IE. I've had a couple of programs try to start it for me.

Anyway, Edge is now Chrome, Opera is now Chrome, and Firefox was forced to number it's versions like Chrome, since people were too stupid to to convert decimal points to whole numbers.

Each one of those browsers offer the option to make it "the default browser" upon install.

I'm actually on M$' side on the IE anti-trust nonsense, if someone is too ploddingly stupid to download and install another browser, then they and IE, deserved one another.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,695   +966
Firefox is a convenient way for Google to say that Chrome is not the only way in town. If you are the major player in a field, it‘s always useful to be able to present an „alternative“, an ideally one that will never be a danger.

Imho, Firefox should also not be a corporate entity but rather an enthusiast driven project with minimal paid support staff.
I've been saying it for a while, but we need "Software Co-ops" to start showing up. "Open Source" doesn't work from a reliable maintenance, security, and compatibility standpoint - if there isn't an enthusiast programmer out there with the skills, time, energy, and will to make it happen, it doesn't happen. Corporate software just ends up being used against us.

We need organizations that are funded by people with the means and desire to see certain software exist in this world, and developed by people who are actually being paid to deliver and maintain a quality product.

If Mozilla was to legally restructure itself into a Co-op, and then begin offering 'free' and 'paid' versions of its browser, I would happily pay for it.
 
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