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Mozilla maintains dependence on Google


By Stuart Turton

Posted on 20 Nov 2009 at 08:46

Mozilla has revealed that it earned $79 million during 2008, with the vast bulk of that coming from its search deal with Google.

The figure represents a 5% increase on 2007, however, there are signs that the foundation's growth is slowing. In 2007 the company earned $75 million, a 12% increase over 2006.

And there are no signs that the foundation's dependence on Google is lessening. "Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties which expires in November 2011," reads the company's financial statement.

"Approximately, 91% and 94% of Mozilla's revenue for 2008 and 2007, respectively, was derived from this contract," it finds.

The top priority in all our financial agreements is ensuring that they do not impede our mission

The deal in question involves Mozilla setting the default homepage of its browser to a customised Google search page, and placing a Google search box in the browser's toolbar.

The foundation says it is working with other search partners to diversify its revenues. In Russia, for example, Firefox's default provider is Yandex. In China, the browsers uses Baidu.

"We're interested in diversified revenue like most companies," Mozilla's vice president of engineering Mike Shaver tells PC Pro. "We have other relationships with eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, and Canonical which provide some revenue, though not on the scale of our Google relationship.

"Of course, the top priority in all our financial agreements is ensuring that they do not impede our mission, or our freedom to be consistent with the values of our project."

Still whatever the source of the income, Mozilla is in rude health. The company now employs 200 people either full or part time in "the US, Canada, and Europe with smaller groups in China and New Zealand".

Analysis firm Net Applications pegs the browser's market share at 25% worldwide, with the foundation claiming that the number of daily users has grown from 28 million in 2006 to 110 million in November 2009.

If there is one concern for the foundation, it appears to be the ongoing investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

"As noted last year, the IRS has opened an audit of the Mozilla Foundation," notes Mozilla's chief executive Mitchell Baker in her blog. "The IRS continues to examine our records for the years 2004-2007. We do not yet have a good feel for how long this will take or the overall scope of what will be involved."

Keep an eye out for the forthcoming issue of PC Pro in which we ask, What next for Mozilla?

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