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Why Firefox's Future Lies In Google's Hands

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-fox-in-hand-is-worth-two-in-the-bush dept.

Mozilla 346

Barence writes "Firefox has just turned five, and it now accounts for 25% of the global market, according to figures from Net Applications. Its success has forced rivals to raise their game, and the past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly. Google is the default homepage when Firefox first opens, and the default search engine when users type something into the 'awesome bar.' The deal, which runs until 2011, was worth $66 million to Mozilla in 2007, accounting for 88% of the foundation's revenues that year (the last year for which it had published accounts). But now that Google is a competitor as well as a partner, is it really wise for Mozilla to be so dependent on Google?"

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346 comments

Lone Wolf (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821260)

Mozilla is actually alone in this. Even Opera (while also getting revenue from Google) does lots of its business with other devices like Wii, Mobile Phones, and other non-pc devices. Hell, I was visiting a hotel which had one of those tv's with hotel interfaces. One day it suddenly booted itself for update and when booting up, there was Opera logo on the start.

So only Mozilla is dependent on others.

Re:Lone Wolf (1, Redundant)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821354)

Opera is dependent on the licensing of their technology to specialized devices to survive. As a result, Opera's focus is largely on speed and memory footprint more than anything else. Mozilla largely has free reign over the development of Firefox and Thunderbird because of Google's "hands-off" sponsorship. All they require is Google be the default engine and start page when Firefox is installed. Not much to sacrifice really...

Re:Lone Wolf (5, Insightful)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821368)

opera has a surprisingly large market share on various embedded devices (as you mentioned) and in included on very large share of mobile devices.

what i found funny in the summary - "past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly".

if anything, firefox has mighe have been closing the feature gap with opera, which had absolute majority of the features first.

disclaimer - opera user for many years here.

Re:Lone Wolf (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821684)

You need to realize that most of the Firefox community is under 20 years old.

That means they were, at most, 4 or 5 years old when the Internet really started taking off. So they missed using older browsers like Mosaic, Lynx, Netscape Navigator, Netscape Communicator, IE before version 7, and Opera.

When they did get interested in using the Internet, which would have been around 2004 or 2005, Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox was the most-hyped browser. So it's not surprising that they started using it then, and quickly became fanatics.

Not knowing much about this history of web browsers, coupled with a near-religious fanaticism for Firefox, leads to absolutely fucking stupid comments like we see in the summary.

Re:Lone Wolf (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822036)

most of the Firefox community is under 20 years old

Holy assumption Batman. Citation please.

Re:Lone Wolf (4, Informative)

atfrase (879806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822102)

You need to realize that most of the Firefox community is under 20 years old.

[citation needed]

"Under 30" I *might* give you as an out-of-the-blue ballpark figure, although still totally unsubstantiated; "under 20" is just setting up a straw man to justify the rest of your rant. No wonder you posted AC.

But I understand why you wanted to gloss over that age group of Firefox users -- we remember when Opera cost money. In 2000 they released a free Opera, but it was ad-supported, which I for one would never tolerate in a web browser. It wasn't until 2005 that the free Opera was ad-free, at which point Firefox was already very well established.

Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_(web_browser) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Lone Wolf (1, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822260)

>>Not knowing much about this history of web browsers, coupled with a near-religious fanaticism for Firefox, leads to absolutely fucking stupid comments like we see in the summary.

Well, maybe they know just enough history to remember back to 2005 when Opera was neither free-as-in-Braveheart nor free-as-in-beer, and Firefox was both.

Re:Lone Wolf (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822264)

BS. I was on the Net before Berners-Lee came up with the whole URL concept, I've used Spyglass, Mosaic, Lynx (still do at times), Netscape from v1 onwards, IE, Opera, FF, Safari, Chrome and some of the crap that comes with mobile devices.

I have used Chrome for a while, but as I could never quite see what it was doing (Google "free" means "we're taking something from you that you won't notice") and as FF plugins give me the control I need I switched to FF again, and I'll stick with it. On Windows, on Linux and if I buy a Mac on Mac too.

Re:Lone Wolf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821908)

You are correct, but Opera wasn't causing anyone that matters to worry about any kind of feature parity because it has just over 0% marketshare. Firefox, while not my favorite browser, spurs competition. This is a big part of the project's utility, even if you don't personally use the browser.

Re:Lone Wolf (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822086)

Opera is the number one browser (overall, ahead of IE) in Ukraine (and supposedly Belarus, though it's hard to get reliable stats about that country...), in Q2 2010 it should be no.1 in Russia. Also, in a lot of countries of Central Europe, in all those new EU members, it has quite respectable share of between 5 and 10%. In some of them even Opera Mini (j2me) is ahead of Safari.

I guess it's also about many people from those areas not visiting webpages generating stats at which you look.

Lone Wolf (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821486)

Mozilla is very dependant on others, just like Linux. There are no islands in the software industry, unless you are Microsoft, in which case you are more like a shitty continent, like Asia. But that is beside the point. I've been in hotels with those interfacse too, and saw the Opera logo.

Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821284)

This issue has been discussed [slashdot.org] on /. many times before. Mozilla needs a sponsor. Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge. So, what options does Mozilla have? Well, they could stay with Google or they could defect to Yahoo or Bing. But MS is even more of a browser competitor than Google. And Yahoo isn't in a financial position to be sponsoring anyone right now. Sure, you could maybe come up with some other more complicated solutions, but $66 million worth? Not many companies, or even groups of companies, have that kind of money to throw around for a little advertisement. There just aren't a lot of alternatives.

So, SHOULD they break away from Google? Probably. CAN they break away from them (and maintain their quality)? Probably not. So, like a bad marriage of convenience, Mozilla is probably stuck with Google until the day (possibly) comes when Google themselves decide to break it off.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (0, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821352)

Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software.

Yes, the money grubbing does connect Mozilla to "true professionalism". But there is also the code bloat, feature creep.

The only thing that really marks Mozilla os "Open Source" these days is the total lack of interest in what the users want or think...

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (3, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821498)

And the fact that the source is, you know, open. I feel that's kind of a major point.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821360)

many, many times before.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821384)

Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge.

No! It's F/OSS - all the Mozilla developers can go and offer paid support, write books, do some TV reality shows, and they'll make plenty of money! That's the whole business model of F/OSS, isn't it?

Or is that Mozilla is a perfect example of how the F/OSS business model isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

I think we're starting to see the F/OSS model isn't sustainable.

Time will tell.

My captcha is 'discord' - irony?

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821518)

Exactly, it's great for projects that are big. Apache gets huge donations from large companies too. Those random projects, not so much. They really mostly in advertising revenues, like Mozilla indirectly gets from Google. Do you really want more advertising and lost privacy?

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821640)

It really boils down to one thing: Quality

When people started switching from IE (on windows anyway), they did so because of the great features. I know a lot of people stay for the same reason, as the plugin library is extensive. However, like the article says the others are catching up.

It's not the F/OSS model that's flawed here. If Firefox was better and faster than what other options are out there, I'd use it now. Two years ago, I used nothing but Firefox ... and loved it.

Tamran

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (3, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821658)

FUD.

That's the whole business model of F/OSS, isn't it?

No, that is only one of many possible F/OSS business models. Other common F/OSS business models include dual licensing and paid support. Examples include Redhat, formerly Trolltech (aquired by Nokia), and many others.

isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

Of the big linux distrobutions, only one (ubuntu) comes to mind as relying on a so called "sugar daddy". Debian is entirely community run, and Fedora is community run, with support from Redhat (an extremely sucessful and profitable F/OSS company).

Time will tell.

Time has already shown the concept to be quite workable.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821824)

Fedora is community run, with support from Redhat (an extremely sucessful and profitable F/OSS company).

Redhat is a sugar-daddy.

and paid support.

As was pointed out, paid support is a very good way to fund a project - actually, there isn't a project that entirely funds itself with paid support.

Dual Licensing? Aside from MySQL (and I have doubts about them), there aren't any successful dual-licensing companies - they all have sugar-daddies.

Sorry, F/OSS is a horrible business model.

FUD - SCHMUD - whatever. I got bills to pay and work to do.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821976)

Redhat is not a sugar daddy supporting a F/OSS company. They are a F/OSS company.

That you consider them worthy of a "sugar daddy" label only serves to demonstrate just how well a F/OSS business model is working for them.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822144)

Other common F/OSS business models include dual licensing and paid support. Examples include Redhat, formerly Trolltech (aquired by Nokia), and many others.

Neither of those are possible for Mozilla - why would anyone pay for support for a web browser? Why would anyone pay for a web browser? I don't see any way you could make a profit from the consumer web-browser market.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822088)

Or is that Mozilla is a perfect example of how the F/OSS business model isn't viable unless a project has a sugar-daddy like the big Linux distros?

I think we're starting to see the F/OSS model isn't sustainable.

Isn't sustainable? Debian was founded in 1993 and has been running strong ever since. It's the core base for a lot of other distributions out there, including the most popular one around, Ubuntu.

KDE, GNOME, Xorg, the Linux kernel, PostgreSQL, Postfix, BIND, Samba, do I really need to list 500 or so open source projects that makes up a significant part of the modern world's IT industry?

Also, the Mozilla project is hardly floundering. 66 million a year isn't peanuts and if they can't run the project on less than that then there's some serious bloat problems over there, and not just in the browser code.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (4, Insightful)

jmyers (208878) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821442)

Where does the money go? It seems to me that $66 million could fund a lot of development for many years. Put that in the bank and you could easily pay the salary of 10 full time programmers and a decent amount of overhead and never spend a dime of principal and never need additional sponsorship and strings that go with it.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821526)

I HAVE AN IDEA!!!!

If they sell each copy for $100, then with only (US$66 000 000,00/US$100 =) 660 000 users they could get the same amount of cash.

Fuck; this is a perfect plan... just like Microsoft Office!

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (2, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821692)

I know you're trying to be sarcastic and/or funny; but, there's a history lesson, sitting right there waiting for you... It goes by the name of Netscape.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821650)

Couldn't agree more. I love Firefox, I use it daily and the support around it is what makes it great. But Google is making Chrome, which is a faster browser, sandboxed, etc. IE is obviously going down a similar path, and Apple is always out of the running because they don't care about open source unless they can rename it and sell it for profit.

I see a bad future for Mozilla, and for Firefox... it's a great example of WHY open source works, but also an example of what does not work. Look at Chrome -- other than the community support, Firefox pales in comparison to almost everything Chrome does. It's slower, less secure (technically), and not as extensible (Gears and Google APIs). But the community around Firefox developed things like Adblock, Xmarks, Firebug, etc. I live on those things, and love them.

But sadly, Firefox is not necessary in order for me to use those extensions any more. While I still find great utility in the addons Firefox has, I realize more and more than open source does *not* evolve very quickly, or very well. Sure it's open source and you can do whatever you want with it. Great. But as a whole application, Firefox is slowing down while others are speeding ahead (namely Chrome). I worry for its future, but at the same time.... I've never been an O/S proponent more than if it does the job, I'll use it.

When Firefox no longer does the job, or no longer does it best -- I'll move on. Unfortunately for the O/S community, you can't justify the use of O/S just BECAUSE it's O/S. It has to be better, and it has to evolve faster. I simply am not seeing it any more.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821720)

why wouldn't yahoo give money to mozzila? it's not really sponsoring, you know... they would get access, clicks and ad revenue in exchange.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821726)

I would argue that it is not a "truly professional piece of software". How do I manage it on a network? If I wanted to lock down the color settings, how might I do that? How about updating the software, and plugins? How is that achieved in a corporate environment?

Unless you meant for the home environment, in which case sure, it does have that market.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (0, Flamebait)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822058)

Maybe you need to think about changing careers. What, if MOM can't do it, you can't do it? It's open-source, I'm sure you can find a way to do what you need.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822074)

If you want to lock down the color settings, here are the steps:

1) Before deploying, go to the configuration file.
2) Find a hot curling iron
3) Shove it up your ass

There's no fucking reason you need to lock down the color settings.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821774)

Oh geez, this is bad. If Firefox becomes more Google-dependent THERE GOES ADBLOCK and there goes the whole pleasant web experience. This may be more important than people realize.

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821870)

This issue has been discussed [slashdot.org] on /. many times before. Mozilla needs a sponsor. Their revenues are the only thing that lets them stand out from most of the rest of the OSS crowd as a truly professional piece of software. Lose those revenues and it will eventually deteriorate into yet another lame piece of poorly-documented, poorly-maintained piece of abandonware on SourceForge.

Like Apache? Like the Linux kernel?

Re:Wise or not, what choice do they really have? (1)

frankxcid (884419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821988)

That is a really interesting argument which brings the thought to mind that is Microsoft were to become involved with Mozilla, it would clear up all sorts of issues that Microsoft has and would be a stroke of genius for them (Microsoft).

What ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821342)

Opera "closing" the feature gap? Except for the Firebug extension Opera was/is (way) ahead of FF.

Re:What ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821504)

Amen. But you often hear people who think that Firefox 'invented' tabbed browsing. Oh the ignorance...

Re:What ? (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821570)

I remember that not long ago Opera didn't support client-side XSLT when IE and Firefox had for years.

Re:What ? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821632)

Features here don't mean some absolutely obscure language. It means the mouse gestures, tabbed browsing, speed dial, customization. things that actually to user.

Opera has always been the leader in this aspect.

Re:What ? (2, Funny)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821700)

Oh, you mean like automatic software updating and automatic crash reporting, for example?

Re:What ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821802)

Oh, you mean like automatic software updating and automatic crash reporting, for example?

Those are only really useful if your program has lots of security holes and crashes often. ;)

Re:What ? (1)

Menchi (677927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821998)

Don't forget user javascript. While it's not a mainstream feature and technically wasn't invented by Firefox but the guy who wrote the Greasemonkey plugin, it's definitely one of the features I don't want to miss with Opera and Firefox had it first. But yeah, "closing the feature gap" is kinda delusional.

FOSS loses more credibility (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821358)

In Haiti right now, there are thousands of people stranded without access to food or shelter. Their only lifeline is the money that we Westerners send. Without this aid, they would surely perish in unspeakable squalor.

We care deeply now, but at some point we will declare that enough is enough and pull funding. Then they will need to walk on their own. Pull support too early and they will suffer a major crash. Pull support too slowly and they will grow dependent upon us.

Google may do a lot of things right, but not pulling the plug on Mozilla/Firefox earlier is something they handled extremely poorly. If a project can only exist with the charitable funding of a major company, then its existence is going to always be tenuous at best.

Re:FOSS loses more credibility (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821682)

OT Haiti situation aside, there is no "charity" here -- Google is paying Mozilla for customers, and making money off of this deal.

Mozilla should simply offer up their search defaults to the highest bidder, ka-ching! (Or is it ka-Bing?)

Re:FOSS loses more credibility (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821740)

Google needed Firefox. Well not specifically Firefox, but a browser other than IE. They could have gone to Opera, but Opera was already "corporate" software.

So now that Google has developed Chrome, they really don't need Firefox much longer. And as part of my "default" Firefox install, AdBlock doesn't fit into Google's corporate strategy.

I like Chrome, but as long as I don't have AdBlock for it, I'll keep using Firefox. Once you get used to the Internet relatively free of crap ads blinking in your face, telling you your the One Millionth Visitor, you can't go back to it.

Sorry Google.

ehh .. feature gap? (2, Insightful)

Jesus_Corpse (190811) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821376)

Its success has forced rivals to raise their game, and the past two years have seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly.

When you look at it with a bird's eye view, I think FireFox has closed the gap, feature-wise.
True, add-ons never became really successful in Opera, but it was mostly complete already before firefox gained popularity

someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821388)

.."seen Microsoft, Apple, and Opera close the features gap significantly"... Firefox is a joke compared to Opera ... for what its worth firefox seems to simply take the direction Opera sets ..

Re:someone (1, Insightful)

slyborg (524607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821882)

LOL,this AC has posted about 10 times in this thread.

Opera is an excellent browser overall, and they are way ahead of Mozilla specifically on small footprint devices like consoles and handsets. This was a good strategic move and while I haven't used Fennec, I suspect that Opera will rise as the smartphone market continues to develop. On Nokia devices, Opera is my default browser.

That said, their fanbois are massive fail. One reason Opera has issues with mindshare is that it seems that most of its users' approach to promoting their platform is:

"Your browser does x? Pah, Opera did that back in 1978 on punch card, you're a LOSER for not using the Pioneer Of All Things Browser". My feeling then is, 'Gee, if I start using Opera, I might also turn into a massive message board tool...back to Firefox!'

Also, if legacy counted for anything, Firefox is the heir of Netscape, which antedates Opera and thus Opera is just a johnny-come-lately to this whole WWW thing.
Killer apps? NoScript + AdBlock Plus. Deliver that functionality with the same ease of use in a browser that doesn't come from the New Evil Empire, and I'll consider switching. So far, Opera is still no go there, those two apps on FF are still superior.

Re:someone (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822010)

So, who is a bigger message board tool? Those who constantly flood them with false claims about their favorite product or...those who simply point out the first group is in error?

BTW, Opera has noscript built in for a long time...and adblock too (this list www.fanboy.co.nz/adblock/opera/ + UI element blocker). You just...don't know that, and flood message board with your lack of knowledge.

Re:someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822104)

Apple is an excellent company overall, and they are way ahead of Microsoft specifically on small footprint devices like consoles and handsets. This was a good strategic move and while I haven't used Windows Mobile, I suspect that Apple will rise as the smartphone market continues to develop. On Nokia devices, Safari is my default browser.

That said, their fanbois are massive fail. One reason Apple has issues with mindshare is that it seems that most of its users' approach to promoting their platform is:

"Your OS does x? Pah, Apple did that back in 1978 on punch card, you're a LOSER for not using the Pioneer Of All Things Computer". My feeling then is, 'Gee, if I start using Apple, I might also turn into a massive message board tool...back to Microsoft!'

Also, if legacy counted for anything, Apple is the heir of BSD, which antedates Microsoft and thus Microsoft is just a johnny-come-lately to this whole computer thing.
Killer apps? Games + MS Office. Deliver that functionality with the same ease of use in a OS that doesn't come from the New Evil Empire, and I'll consider switching. So far, Apple is still no go there, those two apps on Windows are still superior.

Choices? Really? (2, Interesting)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821392)

Seriously, who should be the default search provider, payments or not? If I've got a choice, I'm heading to google, not because of some sort of "I love google" sort of thing, but because they have the best search. If firefox defaults to "Bing!" or "aunt martha's internet search and lemon pies", it won't matter as long as I can set it to Google.

It's the ability to choose that I want to protect, not what the default is.

It would be annoying if they switched to a different default, because that would be one more customization step every time I install Firefox.

Sheldon

Choices need to be made. (1)

Tirith45 (1687810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821422)

I think it's bad that FireFox, lies in Googles hands, because if Google changes their ideals and shifts into a new direction that Mozilla doesn't like they lose their sponsor and it makes a ton of headaches for both companies. I agree with elrous0 I believe FireFox should break away but at this point they do not have a sponsor so they couldn't break away, unless they wanted to become self sufficent and have to hire a whole new team.But alas even if they do become self sufficent, they would still need the backing of a search engine. Bing, Microsofts creation, is okay, it's not the greatest but I perfer Google to Bing and haven't really had extensive testing with it. Yahoo on the other hand, has dropped out of the race more or less as Microsoft, I believe paid them to drop out.

Firefox can fuck off and die (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821454)

A fine example of software dumbed down for dummies.

I might just as well browse the web with /usr/libexec/webkitgtk/GtkLauncher. It probably has slightly more features than Firefox 5.0 will.

Better question (1)

lenova (919266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821510)

Is it really wise for Slashdot to be so dependent on rehashing the same story over [slashdot.org] and over [slashdot.org]?

Re:Better question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821594)

It's not dependent on this story alone. No, there are other stories it is dependent upon rehashing.

user's best interest (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821566)

it's in mozilla's, and their user's best interest to provide their users with the best search engine by default. that's google as of today. mozilla should be happy that they are getting paid to do the best thing for their users.

as far as i know google isn't doing anything to subvert mozilla. they are just fairly competing with them. mozilla is open source, and open source shouldn't have any pride. if google bests them at some point, they shouldn't take it as an insult. let the best browser win.

Re:user's best interest (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822170)

The user's best interest is not very well served by Mozilla going bankrupt and having to stop work on Firefox. Compared to that, having to change your default search engine if you prefer Google doesn't seem too much of a hardship.

well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821584)

about time to fork Firefox, isn't it?

Bias Posting (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821590)

"[Firefox] the past two years have seen ... Opera close the features gap significantly." Are we re-writing documented history? Opera is the longest running GUI Web browser, first to use tabs, sessions, customizable skins, ACID 2 & 3 compliant, download management panel, widget support, and a whole host of other features Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, and Google have taken and continue to take from Opera ASA. I suppose when your non-Opera Web browser lacks the security track record Opera possesses, delusive jealousy becomes a factor.

Google will decide FF fate on my computers (0, Redundant)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821604)

Firefox is not that good anymore, its running far too slow, and does a bunch of short lockups. Chrome finally added extensions, I'm just waiting for my must haves before I say good bye.
Xmarks is good to go, the adblock is about there(it apparently only hides adds not blocks, so eh), I'm just waiting on NoScript then I'm gone.

Privacy, and conflicts of interest (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821608)

I'm always worried that Firefox is making privacy too low a focus. Many of the privacy features I'd like would to see in Firefox would reduce the amount of data Google and other search engines gather about my WWW habits.

For as long as the Mozilla Foundation is financially dependent on Google, I presume that the Mozilla Foundation is betraying its users privacy in return for Google's money.

Being free software usually prevents projects from betraying their users, but this is a bizare case where those controls haven't worked.

(I know I can solve *my* problem by installing various plugins or changing browsers, but I'm not just looking for a quick fix for me, I'd like the privacy of my family and friends to be protected too.)

Competitors? (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821620)

Sure, google now has a browser but why do they have a browser. Are they trying to sell the browser? No, they needed a browser for its utility and not for its direct profitability. I think they would be damned happy to continue funding mozilla since mozilla is moving forward and doing a pretty good job. They are also redirecting a lot of traffic google's way!

Re:Competitors? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822192)

Yes absolutely, I agree. Mozilla doesn't lose anything by Google having a browser and some people using Chrome rather than Firefox. Mozilla's aim should be freedom of choice in quality browser software.

Whatever pays the bills, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821634)

I mean, if they were making Firefox to merely be "the jewel of Open Source technology" - they wouldn't have accepted money for it being sponsored, right?

Strictly speaking, in business terms, Mozilla has a bunch of applications, and I'll be generous enough to guess that they are competitors in the sectors that they target, (Bug tracking, email, web development). But they aren't making any money off of those, that I'm aware of.

Because of this, they HAVE to be dependant on someone, and given the size of everything, its kind of a large bill. So unless the entire Open Source community is going to pitch in a buck here or there, to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and dealing with these products, I don't see them lasting forever.

If something as simple as "Setting Google as the homepage" covers your bills and then some, thats a smart deal to make. I would renew that contract, most people set Google to their home page anyways. Call it "dependant" if you want, its just good business practice.

And if Google decides they don't want to shell it out because they've started up Chrome, that will be the moment that truly defines whether their Standards can actually stand firm. Either everyone will contribute to keep it alive, or someone will claim ownership of it all and license it with the most expensive lawyers they can find, or the project will slowly but surely fall off of the map.

come on, (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821648)

$66 million isn't THAT much. Nothing a good fundraiser couldn't do.

Re:come on, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821748)

Yeah, let's ask Bruce Wayne for help.

One fundraiser with his friends...

Privacy, and conflicts of interest (0, Redundant)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821652)

I'm always worried that Firefox is making privacy too low a focus. Many of the privacy features I'd like would to see in Firefox would reduce the amount of data Google and other search engines gather about my WWW habits.

For as long as the Mozilla Foundation is financially dependent on Google, I presume that the Mozilla Foundation is betraying its users privacy in return for Google's money.

Being free software usually prevents projects from betraying their users, but this is a bizare case where those controls haven't worked.

(I know I can solve *my* problem by installing various plugins or changing browsers, but I'm not just looking for a quick fix for me, I'd like the privacy of my family and friends to be protected too.)

Just buy 'em out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821674)

Google should dump Chrome and buy Mozilla. Make it lean more toward the use of Google applications and web services. As long as they don't try to morph it into Chrome, it'd be cool.

Firefox still winning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821690)

It doesn't matter if it's competing with Google as long as it's stays on top, Google can't afford to lose Firefox until Chrome has picked up more market share, currently despite it's speed Firefox is 5x as popular, until that is reversed Google have to at least match what their competitors would pay and currently I bet MS would pay a fair bit for just 25% of mistyped URLs to go through BING.

Or.. (2, Interesting)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821706)

They can use that to help push them to be better. They need the money more than they can worry about Google being a competitor. I will say that I used Firefox for many years, but when Chrome came out for OS X I switched. It's faster, and cleaner (cleaner being my relative term for how it 'feels'). I still use Firefox for web development and testing because of the addons, but Firefox has grown sluggish lately. As many have said before, they need to strip it back down, and let a lot of their extras be added in by the users if they really want it. I'm doing without several of my preferred plugins (AdBlock especially) just because Chrome is that much snappier feeling.

So the interesting part is... (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821712)

Should Mozilla do anything about it?

I doubt Google will forsake FF yet. Their market share plus competition with MS makes them an attractive ally. Until chrome gains substantial share(and I think it will) supporting FF is in Google's best interest.

At that point though, FF will probably need a kick in the butt. Some new forks moving away from the relatively stable and comfortable, but slower to change browser it's become seems to me be a natural part of the life cycle of a project like FF. It has provided a solid foundation for other open source browsers, and has opened up the market in general. On some level, what's left for it to do other than compete like any other browser? If it maintains good market share, Google will want to keep funding it. If it doesn't, then a large change will be needed to make it relevant again.

Defaults (1, Interesting)

zlogic (892404) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821722)

I think that if Google doesn't sponsor Mozilla, they'll probably switch to Bing. Firefox has a large marketshare, if we add IE to the mix (which already has Bing as the default choice), something like 90% of the browser market will be using Bing. Of couse, some people will revert to Google. But Bing is good enough for most search queries, and a lot of users won't care.

Some versions of Firefox already stopped using Google - for example the official Russian version uses Yandex because in CIS countries it's more popular than Google. The Chinese version could migrate to Baidu etc.

Re:Defaults (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822196)

I'm with you. I think the competition surrounding Firefox (Microsoft, Google) can also be seen as a positive business leverage. As long as Firefox retains a substantial share of the market by providing a desired browser, they can negotiate revenues and partnerships not only with multinational corporations but also region-specific companies. They are an inter-dealing browser. The important thing for Firefox to never forget is that they are dependent on the competition given their current revenue model. Lastly, someone posted the ignorance of certain issues by the FF developers. The memory usage and leaks need to be addressed. They are real.

Google wont upset mozilla. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821738)

for, if they do, they will have upset us. we are the small developers, webmasters, publishers, contributors. we are adsense, we are pagerank, analytics, this that, whatever google has devised in regard to content syndication on the web.

if they do, we will upset google.

Re:Google wont upset mozilla. (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821808)

So google has to keep paying mozilla to fund their project instead of promoting their own browser (for better or worse) so they don't upset you guys???

Re:Google wont upset mozilla. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822136)

I agree that his logic is tortured, but I bet Google is making money on Firefox referrals. And as long as Firefox has millions of users, I imagine it will continue to make sense for Google to work with them, rather than ignoring them.

What is Google paying for ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821742)

They are paying for advertisement revenue caused by the default settings in Firefox. Until Chrome is a serious competitor, Google will pay Mozilla just for not including Adblock directly into the browser.

Re:What is Google paying for ? (1)

drougie (36782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821876)

Yeah, especially given that Google has opened up Chrome to AdBlock and AdSweep and has even welcomed the use of them in spite of being an ad broker, your remark really makes sense.

Re:What is Google paying for ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822106)

Google says a lot of things. Just compare google privacy statement http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy.html with what Google CEO said: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Do you think they will admit that a stupid extension written in javascript will hurt their revenues or bussiness model?

Donationware? (1)

jackchance (947926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821814)

I am a browser slut. I currently use firefox, safari and chrome. I constantly shift around my browser of choice.

That said, I would pay $1 per year to Mozilla to help support their dev team. According to most estimates there are well over 100 million users of firefox.

If each of us gave a dollar, that would be plenty!!

FireFox is in Denial (0, Troll)

adipocere (201135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821826)

The developers of FireFox are in a state of denial; that rarely lends itself to dealing with reality-based threats very well.

Take the memory management issue -- the developers routinely say "There's no such thing." Or "you're using too many plug-ins and extensions." Or any number of excuses. I can hit the same pages with Opera as with FireFox, with less memory usage. And I'm not using plug-ins. The reflex nerd answer is "well, stop browsing that way!" That is a foolish thing to say, as it will cause me to switch to a browser where I do not have to alter my habits.

You can see that Internet Explorer's market share continues to drop, but as of late, it is not through growth in FireFox. It's from the adoption of other competing browsers. As long as the Mozilla Foundation is operating with the THERE ARE NO BAD PROBLEMS, JUST BAD USERS mindset, they'll continue to make more and more strategic blunders. Reliance on Google is one of them. Google has no friends, only temporary allies which may be either dispatched or eaten when it is convenient.

Re:FireFox is in Denial (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822162)

*citation please Seriously, show me where the developers have ever said "There's no such thing". And don't start with the ancient blog post by Ben Goodger (a Chrome developer now, BTW) which even Mozilla developers have refuted. Honestly, I keep seeing this tripe posted as fact but nothing to actually substantiate it. Fanboys != Developers.

Firefox = not for profit (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821952)

In ten years, Google will be as despised as Microsoft. In twenty years, it will be just another mainstream company. IBM->Microsoft->Google-> ?. There's always a new gorilla waiting to toss the heavyweight off his perch. As a non-profit, Mozilla has a different set of fears and challenges.

google will continue the deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821964)

google's biggest income is your time. the more people that use their search(and consequently their other tools and programs) the more money they get. i don't think that google cares that firefox are competing because it gets them eyes, which is what they depend on.

chrome is werid (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822004)

i tried to move to chrome actually. seemed like the right thing to do since i've swallowed the google pill many times over. it's UI is just odd. every other app has a menu bar, but chrome thinks they don't need one. well, actually it still has menus, they are just accessible from other places in the app where you would not logically look for them.

for example, the "preferences" menu is next to the location bar. it's the little wrench icon. okay, every other app has a menu>tools or menu>edit>prefs. chrome still puts it all under a menu, but they moved the menu into a non-standard location. every other major OS has menu bars. like them or not people are used to them. it's intuitive to start poking around in the menu bar when you want to find something.

Re:chrome is werid (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822148)

I prefer this, that way no on screen real estate is used up by a menu bar. I only commonly use a few options in the "wrench" menu and I'd rather have it all hidden there instead of always on screen when i would rarely use it anyways. more space to read and see pages and less ui element always on screen... i guess it is a preference thing.

Yahoo is the only logical choice. (1)

keepper (24317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822016)

Out of their possible viable partners, Yahoo is the only one that is not a direct competitor.

Google, with its all gooey-dooey not do evil mantra, has become a bigger competitor, and likely a conflct of interest, to the Mozilla foundation. Kinda like they did to Apple..

Chrome? (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822028)

Chrome is done with a ribbon, like Internet Explorer. I do not get ribbon instead of a normal toolbar. Why repair what is not broken?

I would say Chrome with its current ribbon design have no chance.

As for a browser in a smart phone, I am not convinced either. The screen is too small. Netbook maybe, a netbook with a flexible screen may work too. Or a smart phone with a flexible attachable screen in a roll. But how to work on a mobile phone screen? It is just too small.

Are FF and Chrome really "competing?" (1)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822070)

Perhaps I don't understand this fully, but I don't see how this works out to be competition from a "dollars and cents" perspective. Google keeps talking about Chrome being a way to "improve the web," and I see them doing that by promoting a browser that's leaps and bounds above the status quo (being IE). Having an officially "Google" product, instead of just a Google-sponsored one like Firefox, allows them to leverage their reputation in a way that hopefully gets people using modern browsers. There are good technical reasons to use both, and aren't crowding the market.

Until Google starts tightly coupling their web services with Chrome-exclusive features (and I don't mean just bookmark sync), Firefox and Chrome will both benefit Google economically by giving them a broader base of browsers capable of running their monetized products - rich web applications.

Firefox will not be an economic competitor to Google until (1) Firefox changes its search defaults or (2) Google elects to make Chrome-exclusive products or features.

Firefox's future is in its own hands (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822098)

And those hands are questionable. The browser doesn't really lead in any area. They are not pushing the standards compliance front (see the ACID tests). They are not leading the speed or javascript fronts. They have been resting on their plugin laurels. The bureaucracy is heavy (see firefox vs debian). The code itself is heavy. (the reason why webkit is chosen over gecko) And Asa, mozilla chief fanboi, thinks microsoft is a more trustworthy partner moving forward than google is. (see the bing recommendation)

If Chrome gets a good plugin API and continues down the multiplatform path, firefox is toast.

nope (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822128)

is it really wise for Mozilla to be so dependent on Google?

Nope. In fact, it would be wise to weaken its links to google. For example, by binding to more than one search engine. What's important, though, is that search results are presented with a consistent interface, so that users will not feel any negative side-effects from switching between engines.

Since google has started commoditizing the browser-industry, it seems that it's now time for the browsers to start commoditizing the search engines...

Firefox Going Away Soon (2, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822138)

Firefox used to be the lightweight alternative. Now when everyone else is focusing on speed and usability, Firefox will take longer to start than any other browser, and do all sorts of things that you probably didn't have in mind when you clicked the Firefox icon (Please wait while we update your extensions....Oops, I couldn't update this extension. Please restart Firefox because I updated this other one. Do you want me to reopen all your old tabs? What about next time? Oh, please update your Firefox! No? Please tell us why! Here, fill out this survey web page which is embedded in this 320x240 pixel window for no reason, and tell us what we can do to improve Firefox.

Give me a break. I only ever use it for Firebug anymore and even that's becoming more rare as the tools for Safari and Chrome improve. Firefox will be irrelevant within 3 years, and still wondering where they went wrong.

Firefox developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822246)

It's worth taking a moment to reflect on the fact that Internet Explorer Is Actually Better Than Firefox At This Point In Time.

Dependency... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822280)

While Mozilla does depend on Google for revenue, and Google are technically a competitor, they are not MS...

Google, like MS are not terribly interested in the browser market and don't make any money from it... The difference is that while MS want to control the browser, stifle the move to web based platform independent applications and lock people in to their platform...
Google want to promote their web based applications, and couldn't really care less what you use to access them. The reason Chrome exists is largely as a competitive push for faster javascript handling and better standards support, with the primary goal being to push every browser maker forwards and thus making Google's webapps more attractive. Prior to Chrome, browser makers weren't really interested in javascript performance.

Well that sucks (1)

hkdm (1721140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822288)

I've been using Firefox since 1.5 so it's been an integral part of my browsing experience. Let's just hope it isn't assimilated into the Chrome project.
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