Sunday, December 4, 2011

Firefox faces bleak future after Google deal expires

Though Firefox has been a user favorite browser all these years, things somewhat changed with the introduction of Google Chrome which has been steadily stealing its thunder. On top of that, their accelerated development and release of new versions has pissed off enterprise customers who may or may not stick around with it. Now, the browser faces its biggest challenge yet that could potentially change its existence – it’s Google partnership.

ZDnet notes that the company’s search partnership with Google, which has been a major part of Mozilla’s revenue for Firefox, has expired in November this year and here’s what a PDF copy of their statement says:

    The Corporation has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties which expires November 2011. Approximately 84% and 86% of royalty revenue for 2010 and 2009, respectively, was derived from this contract.

84% of Mozilla’s $123 million revenue in 2010 came from the Google deal, so you can imagine how much of an impact it will make if they end up losing that chunk of money. And the question is – will Google re-negotiate that deal again? Now that they have their own browser in the form of Chrome, things are very different from back when the deal ended up happening. So there’s a legitimate chance that they may pass it this time around and could end up majorly affecting the browser’s income source.

The question also is how Mozilla will survive and keep Firefox afloat if that scenario happens. There’s no official word from either party yet, but there’s definitely a bleak future ahead of Mozilla if the deal doesn’t end up happening. Firefox being my favorite browser, I really hope something ends up putting things back in place.

What do you think?

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