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Did Microsoft Make Google Pay Triple Rate To Mozilla?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the jacking-up-the-price dept.

Google 248

SharkLaser writes "Last week it was announced that Google has renewed their search deal with Mozilla. The amount Google paid to Mozilla was surprising: $300 million per year, despite the slightly falling market share of Firefox. Many took this as charity, and for the purpose of advancing the web. Now sources in the bidding process have revealed that Google's main rival in the bid was Microsoft's Bing, along with Yahoo. This bidding war was costly to Google, which is now paying 300% of what they used to, just to be Firefox's default search provider. Mozilla veteran Asa Dotzler is also giving insight into the deal between Google and Mozilla. 'Google started out as a search company. But that's not what they are today. Google's primary business is advertising. Google brought in $9.7B in revenues in Q3'11. 96% of that revenue was from ad sales. Not all traffic to Google ads is 'organic' though. To help drive ad sales, Google pays for traffic to their ads. They paid out $2.21 billion, or 24% of their ad revenues in 'Traffic Acquisition Costs.' That money goes to revenue shares with their AdSense partners and to 'distribution partners' — presumably browser makers, PC OEMs, and mobile OEMs and operators.' Google also pays shareware and freeware distributors to bundle Chrome and Google toolbar with their programs and games."

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248 comments

To avoid antitrust (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520442)

Many took this as charity, and for the purpose of advancing the web.

Which is absurd. Chrome and Firefox are competing for the same users. Chrome helps Google display ads by directing users to Google services, such as with searches in the address bar. Google and Mozilla are competitors. Remember, you are the product, and advertisers are Google's customers.

David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS, had a more likely hypothesis [twitter.com] , which is that Google is protecting itself from increased antitrust scrutiny. Remember that they often display a message on Google.com trying to convince people to download Chrome. Along with Android, Google needs to appear like it's not too dominant.

Peter Kasting at Google posted a response [google.com] , but it focused on claims about Google killing Firefox and didn't actually contradict Ulevitch's thesis on why they paid so much to be Firefox's default search provider. Firefox usage is falling because of Chrome, so it's not like Mozilla (a non-profit) is best pals with Google (a for-profit, multibillion-dollar advertising megacorp). And Mozilla has questioned Google's motives in the past [mozillazine.org] over their refusal to implement Do Not Track in Chrome when all the other major browsers committed to it.

It's like how Microsoft keeps releasing Office for Mac and various other utilities to make sure the Mac is out there just enough to keep antitrust regulators off its back.

Re:To avoid antitrust (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520582)

Holy crap! The shills are out in full force today. Why don't you pathetic idiots take a break?

Re:To avoid antitrust (2, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520732)

Wow, Galestar [slashdot.org] , not only do you anonymously troll every post even remotely critical of Google, but then you use your main account to mod yourself Underrated. Speaking of shills.

Re:To avoid antitrust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521116)

What the fuck are you talking about?
Unlike you idiots who all work for Waggener Edstorm or whatever the fuck the marketing agency is called, there are several people here on slashdot that think Google is the only big tech company that is not evil.

Re:To avoid antitrust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521168)

Yes and you people are morons.

Re:To avoid antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521336)

No kidding.

I bet they also think that some politicians are less evil because of the letter next to their name.

Re:To avoid antitrust (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520810)

Who is the post supposed to be a shill for? How is pointing out that Microsoft's support for rival OS' is more likely to be for regulatory purposes than interest in users in any way dubious? Most here know the history of MS Office on the Mac, of MS support within OS/2 being deliberately broken by changes in Windows 3.11? Of sabotage against DR-DOS and other rival systems? Why should we believe Microsoft supports Mac OS/X for anything but blatantly self-serving reasons, when the customers have been trodden on time and again?

Google's policy of "Do No Evil" is, at best, dubious. I like Google a lot but I would never claim that they are above reproach. Nor should anyone. They have grown at a fantastic rate, to the point where their share price has been known to dip whenever they exceed official revenue expectations by a smaller factor than usual. I'm willing to accept that their initial growth was merely through cost-effective engineering, but their applications have a high degree of tie-in and Google certainly leverages one to get traction with another. The chances of there being anti-trust potential should not be ignored and the chances that they're covering themselves (rather than their users) are not insignificant. We should take the possibility seriously.

Re:To avoid antitrust (5, Funny)

sglewis100 (916818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520896)

Why should we believe Microsoft supports Mac OS/X for anything but blatantly self-serving reasons, when the customers have been trodden on time and again?

Oh come on. Even Apple only supports OS/X for blatantly self serving purposes.

Re:To avoid antitrust (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521422)

You sure? I thought it was research into novel torture techniques.

Re:To avoid antitrust (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521650)

Google is doing this simply because it drives more traffic to Google.
Google makes money if they are used on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, IE, SeaFuckingMonkey or any other browser.
Google wants money. Sometimes they have to spend it to make more. Rest assured Google thinks that the $300 mil a year to Firefox is going to generate more than that in advertising revenue.

Re:To avoid antitrust (4, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520604)

David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS, had a more likely hypothesis, which is that Google is protecting itself from increased antitrust scrutiny.

Are you sure that gets them off the hook? It keeps their market share of the web browser segment under control, but if there was ever any evidence that Firefox coordinated its revenue deal with Google, or that Firefox offered its search box as a private-label product to Google, that would be sufficiently illegal at this point, given Google's utter command of the search referral market segment.

The problem with the current arrangement is that Firefox is really only an independent organization in name only; while Google may not own it, it decides its bottom line. This goes quite a bit beyond MS propping up Apple in the good old days: at least back then Apple actually made money from physical products it actually sold. Apple wasn't a pass-thru affiliate for Windows, deriving it's total operating income from them, year over year.

I don't think antitrust regulators are doing much with anybody right now. Google just didn't want to lose eyeballs to Bing.

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520652)

I don't think antitrust regulators are doing much with anybody right now. Google just didn't want to lose eyeballs to Bing.

Really? [latimes.com]

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

NicknameOne (2525178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520746)

Overly Critical Guy supporting bonch again

I'm shocked!

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520796)

Well, according to your profile, you have a history of angrily accusing people of being shills and astroturfers (in fact, it seems to be your favorite topic), so I guess I'm joining the elite ranks of the accused.

Re:To avoid antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521504)

s/accused/pathetic

Re:To avoid antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520630)

Which is absurd. Chrome and Firefox are competing for the same users. Chrome helps Google display ads by directing users to Google services, such as with searches in the address bar. Google and Mozilla are competitors. Remember, you are the product, and advertisers are Google's customers.

I don't see how that means Chrome and Firefox are competitors. The search is what matters. Google obviously has Chrome locked in. Microsoft obviously has IE locked in. But Firefox, representing about ~30% of the web, could swing either way. Google had to stop them from going to Bing, because if 80% of Firefox's users leave the default settings alone, that represents a huge boost for Bing.

I don't think Chrome has Google "locked in" (-1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520744)

With Chrome, you can set Bing to your default search, if you want.

But, I don't think MSIE will let you set Google to your default search engine. At least, not without a lot of trouble.

Re:I don't think Chrome has Google "locked in" (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520964)

When was the last time you installed / upgraded IE... it prompts to set defaults to all Microsoft or "Allow me to select my own defaults"... selecting the 2nd option opens a tab for each "accelerator"... from there Google is really easy to select for search, blogs, email, etc. It's been that way since IE8 and the massive anti-trust lawsuits in Europe.

Re:I don't think Chrome has Google "locked in" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521156)

Good lord.... once again Slashdot is full of ignorant MS bashers. "Durrr Google doesn't lock you in.... BUT MS DOESN'T ALLOW YOU TO USE GOOGLE IN IE!!!!11"

Nope.

Want to set Google as IE's default search provider? Enter something into the address bar and notice the dropdown list of suggestions that starts to appear. Notice the search provider icons at the bottom. Select the big "G".

There - you have now set Google as the default provider.

Next time try not to be an ignoramous who bashes MS at every turn.

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520764)

I don't see how that means Chrome and Firefox are competitors.

They're vying for the same web users. Chrome has been gaining share at Firefox's expense, so by what definition are they not competitors?

Re:To avoid antitrust (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520694)

It is absurd. Because nobody mistook it for charity. Before the deal was announced, there was speculation that Microsoft/Bing would try to make a deal. When the deal was announced, the price tag was kept secret and most speculation was that it was less than it was previously. A couple days later when the $300 million/year number was revealed, it was also revealed that Microsoft (and yahoo, straggly enough) had also made bids.

Avoiding anti-trust issues make no sense at all since Microsoft and Yahoo both made bids. Even worse, if $300 million/year isn't profitable for Google, that's anticompetitive (supra competitive pricing).

Re:To avoid antitrust (5, Informative)

asa (33102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521272)

No "number was revealed. "What you're referring to is speculation from a well respected reporter based on what she heard from her sources. Neither Google nor Mozilla have confirmed it.

Mozilla is open about pretty much everything you can imagine. The only two areas where we are not totally transparent are some employment issues and business dealings where our partners would not partner with us if we tried to force transparency on them.

Mozilla does release financials every year so you can see what revenue we generated and where we spent it. That makes it sort of possible to see what specific deals look like in broad terms but no matter how much we'd like to, we simply can't force transparency on other companies.

Re:To avoid antitrust (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520704)

Don't know who marked you as overrated - your points seem entirely valid and interesting.

Re:To avoid antitrust (4, Insightful)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520794)

Chrome helps Google display ads by directing users to Google services, such as with searches in the address bar.

And thanks to this deal, Firefox does as well. Chrome and Firefox are competitors, but Google only created Chrome for pushing ads. They don't care if the user seeing the ad is using Chrome, Firefox, IE, or Safari. The user seeing the ad and clicking the ad is all that matters to them. So really they aren't very serious competitors of Mozilla (not saying the competition isn't a serious deal, but that Google doesn't want to seriously compete against them).

Re:To avoid antitrust (4, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521250)

...Google only created Chrome for pushing ads.

Absolutely true, and with a secondary goal of breaking the power of a GPL code base over which they do not have complete control. Now, Google finds itself in a position of paying $300/million to support a GPL code base, over which they do not have complete control (restated for emphasis). What an excellent situation: mandatory doing of non-evil. It's actually better for Google, and better for us, when Google does non-evil like this. I fear greatly a scenario where Google has complete control of the non-copyleft code base of the dominant web browser. In that situation, I do not believe that Google would be able to resist the temptation to do evil, perhaps just minor evil at first, and later, not minor at all.

That said, I wish that Mozilla foundation would take, say, one of those $300 millions and spend it on replacing Gecko by webkit, putting its own fork of webkit under GPL. As far as I can see, that simple strategy alone would ensure Mozilla never becomes irrelevant, and that neither Apple nor Google can effectively take webkit private, which is a clear and present danger at the moment.

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521312)

As far as I can see, that simple strategy alone would ensure Mozilla never becomes irrelevant, and that neither Apple nor Google can effectively take webkit private, which is a clear and present danger at the moment.

Since WebKit is mostly LGPL unless they plan on violating the license how exactly are they going to take it private?

Re:To avoid antitrust (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521574)

As far as I can see, that simple strategy alone would ensure Mozilla never becomes irrelevant, and that neither Apple nor Google can effectively take webkit private, which is a clear and present danger at the moment.

Since WebKit is mostly LGPL unless they plan on violating the license how exactly are they going to take it private?

Most of Webkit is under BSD license. Mozilla foundation (or anybody else, including your or me) could easily re-license all the BSD parts of Webkit under (L)GPL. Of course, making this stick depends on having a good stream of contributions including bug fixes and new features into the (L)GPL code base. Which tends to just happen given that a significant number of developers prefer to contribute to a copyleft code base over non-copyleft, other things being equal, and given that any contribution to the BSD-licensed code base can be merged to the GPL-codebase without legal issues, whereas the the reverse is not true.

Re:To avoid antitrust (5, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521536)

Chrome and Firefox are competitors, but Google only created Chrome for pushing ads.

I doubt that. Most likely, Google created Chrome and its specific features to push the browser market in a direction that favored web-based replacements for desktop application -- you'll note that, in addition to advertisements, Google sells both its own web-based services and a hosting platform for third-party web-based services, and has consistently used Chrome to push technologies designed to address barriers to web services displacing traditional desktop apps (and also on enabling new kinds of web apps besides areas where desktop apps are popular.) JavaScript performance was the big area that was a focus when Chrome was launched, though the focus has moved somewhat from JavaScript performance as such to support for a broader range of APIs that push into non-traditional web roles (e.g., WebGL) and non-JavaScript application options (particularly Native Client), but still largely focus on browser-as-app platform.

Google created Chrome to push Google's (current and planned) revenue-generating services, but that's more than just advertising, and I would say that Chrome exists disproportionately to push Google's non-advertising services (though, of course, it doesn't miss the easy opportunity to directly push Google advertising, either.)

Market share - boring...... (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521042)

Firefox usage is falling

It would be interesting to know if this were true, not as a percentage of the market but in terms of total volume (number of users, number of searches done using Firefox, ie something actually somewhat relevant to how Google derives revenue).

People seem to focus a lot on market share but I think it's a largely irrelevant metric for doing anything other than cheerleading. After all, you can apparently run a viable business [opera.com] based on a single digit browser market share. Given the astonishingly large number of people using the web this shouldn't be surprising but people seem to look at the percentages and forget the volume.

300 million sounds like a lot of money (because it is!) but it would seem to be less than a dollar per Firefox user per year. Would Google expect to derive more than a dollars worth of revenue per user over a year on average? It doesn't sound like a fundamentally unreasonable proposition (and Google should have the metrics to know, it would not be much of a gamble for them).

Re:To avoid antitrust (4, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521230)

Google and Firefox are not competitors. Competitors don't go buying each-other products. They are partners, recently Firefox tought they weren't getting enough from the partneship, so they used some negotiation skills, and got more. Google was happy to pay more (but they were even happier to pay less), so they agreed on some terms.

But yeah, calling it charity is ridiculous.

Re:To avoid antitrust (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521410)

Which is absurd. Chrome and Firefox are competing for the same users.

As long as Google is the primary search provider in Firefox, and as long as Mozilla is actually pursuing its statement mission of advancing the open web, Chrome and Firefox are both places where Google is spending money to an getting the same basic thing for the money:
1) Direct promotion of google's search advertisement revenue through placement as the default search provider, and
2) Indirect promotion of the market for a wide range of Google's for-pay services (including search and non-search advertisement, application hosting through App Engine, and others) by making open web technologies a more attractive application platform and the web a place where users spend more time.

David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS, had a more likely hypothesis, which is that Google is protecting itself from increased antitrust scrutiny.

A whole lot more plausible of a hypothesis is that Google is spending money in the search deal to advance is direct and immediate revenue stream from search advertisements, and that the indirect benefits to its strategic interests in its other revenue sources are a reason that Google is willing to spend more for that advertising revenue than other bidders, particular Microsoft, who don't share Google's other interests in Mozilla.

Antitrust concerns are a pretty ridiculous hypothesis for Google investment in Mozilla, since Mozilla doesn't compete with Google anywhere where Google is dominant.

Re:To avoid antitrust (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521418)

Google and Mozilla are competitors. Remember, you are the product, and advertisers are Google's customers.

They could be competitors. Clearly they aren't when they are cooperating to deliver users to Google.

Re:To avoid antitrust (3, Interesting)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521498)

David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS, had a more likely hypothesis [twitter.com] , which is that Google is protecting itself from increased antitrust scrutiny. Remember that they often display a message on Google.com trying to convince people to download Chrome. Along with Android, Google needs to appear like it's not too dominant.

So, in your opinion, Google is paying Mozilla to strengthen its search engine market share (85%) at the expense of its web browser market share (25%) because they fear the antitrust scrutiny. Just to point out, an antitrust investigation on Chrome is just impossible: it is not by any means in the same position as IE was, the only browser bundled with a monopolistic OS.

It's like how Microsoft keeps releasing Office for Mac and various other utilities to make sure the Mac is out there just enough to keep antitrust regulators off its back.

No. MS keeps releasing Office for Mac because: it makes money (1), it secures the Office lock-in by spreading the OOXML format (2). The second point is extremely important to MS, they want to spread their inextricable file formats everywhere so to secure their monopoly. See? All the contrary to what you said.

You thought you were the user? (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520468)

No, you're the product.
 

Re:You thought you were the user? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520498)

This.

Why I won't buy an Android phone, or give Google a monopoly on my information. GMail and google searches (never signed in) are enough.

Re:You thought you were the user? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520548)

Psst:
You aren't that important.

Re:You thought you were the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520600)

I'm sure you think like that about yourself on election day too.

Re:You thought you were the user? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520974)

I am sure it doesn't fucking matter cause our votes are worthless, its all down to how many points can they rack up in the state's government

Re:You thought you were the user? (0)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521636)

i vote every presidential election and try to get to the congress/senate elections too. i find it very important and it is a fine reminder that i am still an important citizen of a very important country.

Re:You thought you were the user? (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520812)

This argument, and the "I have nothing to hide" argument are useless. Yes, usually the person is not that important. Yes, usually they have nothing to hide. But, (to borrow from Robin Hood: Men in Tights): "That's not the point, it's the principle of the thing".

These invasions of privacy seem mild now, and a small thing, but its just the beginning.

Re:You thought you were the user? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520986)

Hey Garrett, as someone who works for the City of Portland, isn't it a little wrong for you to tell people that consumers voting with their wallet "aren't important"? Thats sorta how municipal governments, you know the people you represent here in Oregon, work too.

As an "Applications Analyst, IV" you must be VERY important.... or just an angry fan of a mobile phone platform. Either way, how utterly disrespectful.

via https://plus.google.com/115956106389938196340 thanks google!

Re:You thought you were the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520588)

Oh, will you but a WP7 phone? Or maybe get an iOS device? I'm sorry, but you can at least but a Google-free version of Android on an Android phone...

Re:You thought you were the user? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520532)

no SHIT! Did you think know one new that?
Next up, ads on TV are there to sell you things! shocking!

Re:You thought you were the user? (3, Funny)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520610)

Did you think know one new that?

Just.... wow...

Re:You thought you were the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521480)

Heh. I thunked it up all by myself. Hi everybody! I just got off my AOL account. My old Gateway 2000 puter finally died. There wuz a virus that wood nvr go a way. :(

Re:You thought you were the user? (5, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520534)

you're the product.

Do you not see the irony in this statement, posted to this site....

Question (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520666)

If I'm the "product," wouldn't that mean I'm entitled to some form of compensation (preferably monetary)?

Re:Question (2)

trip23 (727132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520782)

If you are the product, you are entitled to be sold. Money goes to the producer. Or Trader. They will feed you well, if you incorporate value.

Re:Question (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520842)

If I'm the "product," wouldn't that mean I'm entitled to some form of compensation (preferably monetary)?

You are already compensated in that you have the benefit of the search results.

Re:Question (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521072)

If I'm the "product," wouldn't that mean I'm entitled to some form of compensation (preferably monetary)?

Sure, you're entitled to use their fairly decent browser, webmail, and search service. Their ads actually managed to point me to a decent hotel deal a couple weeks ago

Re:Question (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521112)

If I'm the "product," wouldn't that mean I'm entitled to some form of compensation (preferably monetary)?

You think they give you free access to Gmail, Chrome, etc. out of the goodness of their corporate heart?

Re:You thought you were the user? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520698)

Neither one, but both: we are all users and people that are used. Didn't you listen to pop music in the eighties? Sweet Dreams ring a bell? How about an image of Marlyon Manson riding a pig while wearing a tutu? Anything?

The world isn't digital, its analog.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520510)

And wow...this is new low for SharkLaser and whoever is making him to spew this.

'Google started out as a search company. But that's not what they are today. Google's primary business is advertising.

Google is still primarily a search company. Right from the beginning their monetisation plan was through serving targeted ads. A business model that lets them closely align their interests with that of their users. If the users don't like Google they will move away to a different source and so Google will not be able to make money. This is a brilliant business model and unfortunately one that Microsoft cannot make work. So they are using all this propaganda to discredit Google's business plan.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520528)

Wake the fuck up dimwit. Google is a Ad company

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520696)

That's how they make money you fucking idiot. That's like saying Microsoft makes money by selling crappy overpriced software.

My point is there's nothing wrong in serving ads for things that people are looking for. You are trying to paint it in a negative way. How the fuck do idiots like you remember to breathe - beats the crap out of me.

Re:No (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520872)

My point is there's nothing wrong in serving ads for things that people are looking for.

Whoa, an AC that actually has a good point. I stand amazed.

Though they're a bit of a douche, aren't they?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520940)

NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , don't you get tired of trolling for Google every day?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521472)

Jeez...seriously who the fuck are you people? cmdrpony? insightin140bytes? SharkLaser? bonch? InterestingFella? Overly critical guy?
How much will you bet half the AC shill posts here are by these accounts that all belong to one entity or two at most?

I used to come for the comments mostly but for the past several months it's been taken over by these accounts that post the same shit full of lies every single day. You idiots are making slashdot unreadable these days.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521616)

Listen dimwit, IF YOU ARE MAKING MONEY BY ADS THEN THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE, AN ADVERTISER.

It is so simple that I thought a dimwit could work it out. Clearly not.

Stop stealing my oxygen you fucking ass burgler

Nothing wrong with this (4, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520538)

This is free-market capitalism working. Supply is constant (there's only one Firefox), but demand increased (Bing wanted in on the traffic). Therefore prices increased.

And it's even good for the consumer. "Default search provider" can't really hurt the consumer, as long as they're free to change it (and they are). Meanwhile, this provides funding to one of the few open-source brands. Firefox isn't just a browser - it managed to build a respect and legitimacy as a product in a world dominated by closed-source, and it built that legitimacy with regular desktop users, not IT people. Mozilla could make a music e-store, or a netbook line, or an operating system, and it would share that perception of legitimacy, of the brand identity. Not many open-source non-profits can say the same.

Keeping an open-source brand alive is worth it.

Re:Nothing wrong with this (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520762)

Are you sure there are no hidden clauses in the contract that prohibit Mozilla from creating an app-store? I am glad Mozilla got funding. I am glad Apache is picking up Open Office. I am very disappointed in the walled gardens in Android and iOS app-store markets. Don't even mention the fragmentation and lack of standards in the TV/Boxee/AppleTV/Roku/ segments.

I really wish Mozilla/Firefox would create a standard open-standard API for apps and allow app developers to use a develop once and run anywhere model.

Re:Nothing wrong with this (3, Informative)

asa (33102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521228)

Mozilla is building an open standards-based API for apps that allow app developers to develop once and run anywhere. Have a look here for a preview. We'll be investing considerably more in this project in the coming year. See more here https://apps.mozillalabs.com/ [mozillalabs.com]

And no, Mozilla would absolutely not sacrifice something fundamental to our Mission for revenue. See more here http://www.mozilla.org/about/mission.html [mozilla.org]

Re:Nothing wrong with this (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521332)

I am very disappointed in the walled gardens in Android and iOS app-store markets.

I don't care about Apple's walled garden, that will take care of itself, and I don't perceive the Android market as a walled garden. All the excellent free (as in freedom) applications I downloaded without providing a credit card number says the Android market is not walled. But Android development is most definitely a walled garden and that sucks because Google designers and coders are not nearly as good as they think they are, or as they would have us believe. Which translates to real life suckage that hurts me in real life. Like not being able to connect to Wifi networks reliably. A situation that would not have lasted more than a year in the greater open source community, given a healthy, functioning development community as opposed to the current, bespoke and overly corporatized Googly approach. Which tends to produce results that would be comically amusing if they were not so painfully intrusive in practice, like the brain-addled conscious decision not to let users shut down an app in any simple way.

Re:Nothing wrong with this (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520826)

I mostly agree what you are saying, but I want to point out 2 technical points.

First, supply is not constant. It’s like saying the supply of Ford cars is constant because Ford is the only supplier of Ford cars – which – while technically true does not offer a lot of insight. Consumers demand a web browser. There are many suppliers of web browsers which are close substitutes. There is a reason why Google is paying Firefox 300m but not Opera.

Second, while "Default search provider" can't really hurt the consumer directly, it can harm the market and thus the customer indirectly. Think of all the tying that Microsoft has done as an example. If Windows97 ships with Explorer does this prevent people from downloading Netscape? No – but a lot won’t take the extra step. If Kraft buys out all of the eye level MacNCheese on a grocery story (which they do) does this prevent a consumer from bending over and buying a new local brand? No. (well, in this case, sometimes yes. Stores can only stock X brands of MacNCheese, so they big corps pay for the prime shelf space. The big boys can’t price out a specific smaller producer, but they can shrink and tilt the mark their way.)

I am not a huge fan on the FTA regulating internet monopolies because they take years to decided markets that last for ½ as long, but it is important to understand what is happening.

Re:Nothing wrong with this (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521366)

You're correct about the lack of a constant "supply". In Firefox's case, supply is a function of the number of eyeballs looking at it. Being the default search provider is basically Google's marketing and advertising. Which leads me to wonder, since Mozilla is basically making money off advertising Google's product, does Mozilla consider their userbase the product too? Because it would explain a hell of a lot about Firefox's direction if it was true.

Actually, Firefox comes with several search options besides Google (Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, etc.). I believe these are all paid for, similar to the higher and lower shelves in the supermarket isle. But because there's only one search box, somebody has to be the default search provider.

The main reason why people will look higher or lower on the shelf in a supermarket is because they're paying for the product directly. People won't care about switching their (default) search provider because it's free either way, and for the most part, whatever search engine they're using turns up decent results. In a browser, the only reason to pay for one of those other spots is when the default engine is insufficient due to specialization.

Started out as a search company? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520564)

"'Google started out as a search company. But that's not what they are today. Google's primary business is advertising."

Funny, I thought they were always an advertising company. The last time it wasn't, to my knowledge, was when it was still hosted at Stanford.

Re:Started out as a search company? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520776)

The vast majority of TV stations get their revenue from advertising. That doesn't make NBC an advertising company.

Wikipedia gets all of their revenue from donations. That doesn't make Wikimedia a donation company.

You people really need to learn to separate what a company does from how it finances those operations.

Re:Started out as a search company? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521388)

What Google does is run the largest advertising company on the Internet. You not liking that reality has no bearing on its existence.

Re:Started out as a search company? (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521420)

The vast majority of TV stations get their revenue from advertising. That doesn't make NBC an advertising company.

Are you sure about that? Anyway, Google owns Doubleclick, which is most assuredly an advertising operation.

Re:Started out as a search company? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521376)

"'Google started out as a search company. But that's not what they are today. Google's primary business is advertising."

Funny, I thought they were always an advertising company. The last time it wasn't, to my knowledge, was when it was still hosted at Stanford.

The original poster is correct. Google's original business plan was wildly different from auctioned search terms. Believe it or not, it was... well, you can do your own research, I've done mine.

Yay! (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520644)

Did MS make them pay triple? Yup! MS could have actually gained some geek-cred paying Mozilla, in addition to getting searches.

I hope they spend most of this money making Web to Gecko a great OS!

Can you now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520738)

fix your bloody browser.

I couldn't see what the problem was before this deal, revenues were good, expeniture cannot have eaten too far into it. May be money was put aside because of uncertainty about future funding. But now.... it better be good, and soon.

Lots of Mozilla (1)

ears_d (1400833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520740)

Does this mean we will see even more major Firefox versions in 2012? Or, will Mozilla beef up its graphics design staff and add even more eye candy???

300%? (0)

ve3oat (884827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520774)

This bidding war was costly to Google, which is now paying 300% of what they used to,

Ahh ... $300 million is NOT 300% of $100 million. (I will refrain from my usual rant about journalists trying to use statistics.)

Re:300%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520832)

I really don't see how 300 million is anything other than 300% of 100 million

Re:300%? (5, Informative)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520844)

Yes it is. 50% of 100 million is 50 million, 100% of 100 million is 100 million, and 300% of 100 million is 300 million. "Of" in this context means multiplied by.

Perhaps you're confused by "300% of" as opposed to "increased 300%"? - it's a 200% increase, or 300% of the original value.

Re:300%? (1)

radish (98371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520894)

Actually I'm pretty sure it is. They didn't say "300% MORE than they used to", which would have been wrong. 50% of $100m is $50m, 100% of $100m is $100m, 200% of $100m is $200m, and so on.

In fact, Wolfram Alpha [wolframalpha.com] confirms it!

Re:300%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521206)

(I will refrain from my usual rant about journalists trying to use statistics.)

Oh no, please continue with your rant :-)

So the better question IMHO (4, Interesting)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520824)

Is why Firefox doesn't have all it's problems worked out with an operating budget of at least 100 million dollars a year, one would hope that with an additional 200 million dollars a year, they will really start making heads turn towards, and not away from, their product.

No, Google chose to pay triple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38520858)

If they hadn't, MS or Yahoo would have paid whatever the next bid was. It was a bidding war. C'mon, /.

Oh and I love that the link in the summary includes the word "Microsoft" but not "Yahoo."

Evil me... (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520892)

Google is paying so much to be default search machine. And the first thing I do with a new FF installation is to remove it and replace it via 'Add To Search Bar 2.0' with DuckDuckgo and Dogpile. But hey, at least I am still using google. Indirectly.

Sounds familiar (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38520922)

I made a comment talking about how this was likely just a few days ago [slashdot.org] .

My point was the platform brings a lot of eyeballs, and has a value on that merit alone. That value has now been placed at 300 million dollars. Conspiracy theorists need to get a grip and remember that most things have simple explanations.

Firefox can't be bought or otherwise buried. However they can be joined, and there is nothing wrong with their doing so.

Proof of Google's harmful monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521080)

This is just further proof the harmful nature of Google's monopoly.

I've seen COUNTLESS posts on this site as well as others in which people say "Sure Google has a monopoly... BUT THEY DON'T HARM ANYONE!" It's a silly and WRONG argument, and the fact that they were underpaying Mozilla just proves it.

Monopolies are bad because they mess up supply and demand. Without competition Google was able to lowball Mozilla and not pay them a fair amount. You think that people wanting to advertise on Google also aren't being harmed by the lack of competition? Google has grown too powerful and their tentacles keep reaching into new areas and they keep extending the monopoly into more areas.

Also, does anyone else think it's anticompetitive for a company with monopoly share to PAY people to use their services?

Re:Proof of Google's harmful monopoly (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521584)

Also, does anyone else think it's anticompetitive for a company with monopoly share to PAY people to use their services?

Well, its anticompetetive to let everyone *except* them pay to use the service. By your argument, if Google didnt bid then Microsoft would be underpaying for Firefox which would be proof of Microsofts harmful monopoly. If everyone is free to bid, no monopoly, and no one underpaid anyone.

Lets get the facts straight. (2)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521148)

Google has a revenue of sth like 30Billion/year. 60% of that is on their websites and i presum something like 40% comes from firefox users, which (according to my habit) mostly comes from the built-in search. Now lets say 50% of the revenue on the google websites is search-related. That makes 12% of 30Billion$ which could be lost. Lets say half of the people åre too lazy to change the default search engine, so we are talking about a loss probably larger than 1.5 Billion.

So paying 300Million seems a reasonable decision to me.

Re:Lets get the facts straight. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521380)

especially given what would happen if the default search engine for the majority of the web users became Bing - in IE, in FF, in anyone stupid enough to install Yahoo and it's toolbar or the "Bing Bar" crapware.

Imagine a world where Bing was the majority search engine. (I know, it's difficult). Such a thing could happen if MS paid enough money out. Imagine saying "I'll just bing that".

Its bad enough that the voice activation on xbox only responds to "bing x" for search.

So - $300m for Firefox default search, very much worth it. At least MS didn't push the price up to $8.5bn, amateurs :)

Re:Lets get the facts straight. (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521468)

...paying 300Million seems a reasonable decision to me.

Totally. But the number is so large that I worry about the money being largely pilfered by the usual sort of people who are attracted to large sums of money, instead of being mostly spent on doing good.

mozilla is now MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521166)

If google is better for open source than MS, and Mozilla is playing MS and Google against each other for the highest bidder, should all the linux distros dump mozilla and switch to chrome?

Should Google be packaging .deb and .rpm files for distros?

Providing anti-trust and advertising revenue protection to the highest bidder, based on a legacy (and shrinking) user base, seems like a shoddy business model, but so much of marketing is based on chatter rather than substance perhaps this is a natural side effect of the underlying system.

That's good (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521234)

At 1 million $ per version, I expect to see atleast 300 google sponsored revisions of Firefox in 2012.

Charity claim misleading (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521308)

Many took this as charity, and for the purpose of advancing the web.

I don't think that's accurate. What would be more accurate is that many media outlets have misrepresented various Googler's comments that what Google pays Mozilla advances Google's interest in the open web, and that that is one reason why Google would continue to funnel lots of money to Mozilla even though it has its own browser which competes directly with Firefox as a claim about "charity".

That claim has nothing to do with charity, its a statement that is about revenue -- largely ad revenue, but also revenue from Google's other services -- because the more happy people are with doing things on the web (whether new things or things they previously would use desktop apps or non-web technologies for) the bigger the market is for online advertising, web application hosting, and all kinds of other services Google provides for a price. And the more the web uses open standards to do that, the more Google's various services that rely on scraping, analyzing, and summarizing data from across the web can do.

There's also, of course, the direct search ad revenue that Google derives from use of their products in search, which is the most direct and visible reason they would pay Mozilla to be the default Firefox search provider. And of course that's important, too. But their strategic interest in making the web friendlier to promote their whole host of services (which is still mostly advertising, but not all of that advertising is search advertising) is why they are consistently willing to pay more to be the default search provider in Firefox than Microsoft, for whom promoting the open web isn't a strategic interest in the way it is for Google. Because Google sees a return beside the direct search revenue that Microsoft doesn't, because Google's long-term business interest are more closely aligned with Mozilla's ideological interests.

Safari (3, Insightful)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521314)

If you thought that was a lot, wait until you see what Google will have to pay for primary placement in Safari. I don't recall when that deal is up, but you can bet that Apple is going to be all too happy to stick it to Google for pilfering the iphone design for use in Android hardware.

Apple has a tremendous thing going with iPhone and IPad sales. They're none to happy that Google is trying to rock that boat. I expect Apple to force Google to pay dearly for placement, Apple will be just as happy to switch to Bing.

btw, if you thought Bing's existence was a waste of energy, it was built for exactly this kind of forcing costs up on competitors. It doesn't have to be widely used, it just has to be a credible threat so Google is forced to pay more than it otherwise would have.

Does a surprise increase of 300% to Mozilla mean that they are going to be able to hire more developers, and build/iterate faster?

in the 90s and early 2000s MS purchased Java shops (3, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521662)

they purchased Java products and companies in bidding wars with Sun and Netscape only to shut them down. ie they were purchased at a high cost to get useful Java apps and tools off the market. As for Google, they benefit from an open market and not a closed Microsoft or Apple market. And we benefit from that too.

LoB
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