Google pays the bills at Mozilla

Google is Mozilla's sugar daddy. CNET Blog Network contributor Matt Asay wonders: Is this cause for alarm?

I knew that Google represented a majority of Mozilla's revenue, but 85 percent? That's what Mozilla recently reported, as pointed out by The Register. The good news is that it's in Google's interest to continue feeding a competitor to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The bad news is that it has to do so much feeding.

In 2006, Mozilla pulled in revenues of $66,840,850. That's up 26 per cent from 2005, and as Baker says, most of it can be traced back to Mountain View. "As in 2005 the vast majority of this revenue is associated with the search functionality in Mozilla Firefox, and the majority of that is from Google." A customized version of pops up when you launch Firefox, and there's a Google search box tucked into the browser's top right-hand corner.

I use that search box all the time. But I also use Adblock Plus, so I never see a Google ad. Ever. Should Google worry? Should Mozilla?

As noted before, Firefox could do with a little of the capitalist pig mentality . Treating it as a public asset is nice, but public goods have a tendency to have lots of users who use without replenishing. Mozilla needs to figure out a way to make money that doesn't entirely depend on Google's beneficence. It's fantastic that Mozilla made $66 million last year.

It would be better if it weren't reliant on one customer.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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