Mozilla ditches Google millions: One year on

27 Nov 2015

Mozilla operates in a highly competitive environment, and seems to survive against the odds each time a major challenge presents itself. But, one year on from its decision to ditch the millions of dollars in revenue Google used to provide it with, have times gotten harder?

Apparently, Mozilla is doing just fine. Its partnership with Google lasted 10 years, from the halcyon days of Firefox and Internet Explorer encompassing the vast majority of the browser landscape, right up to Chrome’s introduction to, and ultimate domination of, the field.

Last November, Mozilla chose to break free from a deal that was essentially Google paying for Mozilla to host its web searches through Firefox. It was such a key agreement to Mozilla that it represented the vast majority of the near $330m in revenues it achieved last year.

“Our agreement came up for renewal and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options,” said Mozilla CEO Chris Beard at the time.

Now, the company has made agreements with other search engines (Yahoo, Baidu and Yandex) on a more regional basis (US, China and Russia respectively). This might seem odd to users like myself, in Europe, but that’s because Google is the default search engine for Firefox here.

Now, Google pays absolutely nothing in royalties to Mozilla, with Denelle Dixon-Thayer, chief business and legal officer at Mozilla saying: “We don’t have a commercial relationship with Google at this point … It goes back to our strategy of how we can encourage more competition.”

The recently released figures for 2014 show a rise of around 5pc to that $330m in revenues and, surprisingly, CFO Jim Cook is predicting even better figures for 2015, the first full year without Google.

“We really look forward to displaying our results next year,” Cook said. “2015 will show our continued track record of really strong financial results.”

As far as mobile OS goes, Mozilla is making no inroads but, if Cook can be believed and revenues continue to rise post-Google, maybe my favourite browser will continue for some time to come.

Although, if it is left relying on search engines maintaining relevance throughout Google’s now mature stage of performance, it won’t be entirely plain sailing.

Red panda (Firefox) image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic