Mozilla's Google subsidy to last three more years

Open-source developer extends until 2011 the Google search partnership that's provided the vast majority of the revenue for the backer of the Firefox Web browser.

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Mozilla and Google have extended a search deal through 2011, providing some financial security to the backer of the open-source Firefox Web browser.

"We've just renewed our agreement with Google for an additional three years. This agreement now ends in November of 2011 rather than November of 2008, so we have stability in income," Mozilla Foundation Chairman Mitchell Baker said in a blog post Wednesday. (Updated: there was a misleading timestamp on the post; a Mozilla representative told me it actually went live Wednesday evening.)

Google pays for prominent placement in Firefox, including the default home page and the default choice in the search box.

The deal has been lucrative for the Mozilla Foundation, whose two subsidiaries create Firefox and the Thunderbird e-mail software. In 2006, Google supplied $56.8 million of Mozilla's revenue--85 percent of the total for the foundation.

Google is the default search provider in the Firefox search bar.
Google is the default search provider in the Firefox search bar. Mozilla/Google

And the money will come in handy. Firefox grew to its current position as the second-ranked Web browser during a hiatus when Microsoft rested on its Internet Explorer laurels.

Now Microsoft is fighting back hard with Internet Explorer 8, and Apple is spreading its Safari browser to Windows, the iPhone, and iPod Touch. Even fourth-ranked Opera Software is determined to stay in the game.

Mozilla hopes to release Firefox 3.1 by the end of the year with improvements to JavaScript execution speed, the ability to run JavaScript tasks in the background, and built-in video and audio support.

(Via TechCrunch.)