Would Firefox Exist Without Google Funding?

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A while back I suggested Yahoo could gain instant market share simply by outbidding Google to be the default browser. I immediately got a response from Mozilla lead developer Asa Dotzler saying:

Donations or other financial contributions and arrangements have nothing to do with why Google is the default search service in Firefox. Google is the default service (and was long before there was any money associated with it) in Firefox because our users tell us it’s the service they want.

Or to put it another way, Yahoo couldn’t buy the default slot in Firefox. No one could. Not even Google.

What Yahoo could do, something Google does, is to distribute a version of Firefox with Yahoo defaults. Mozilla has a broad partners program that allows for this and Yahoo could help Firefox and at the same time help themselves by participating.

But that developer even if he is a lead developer must be out of the loop. Danny Sullivan emailed me and pointed me to this article which indeed confirms that the deal between Google and Mozilla was to set Google as the default search engine and homepage for Firefox.

Yesterday Techcrunch reported Google has outbid all other search engines to ensure they remain the default search engine and homepage for Firefox users for at least the next 3 years. The total amount comes to about $180 Million Dollars for 3 years and will account for at least 85% of Mozilla’s funding.

I have to say I am very happy Google is funding Firefox. It is an awesome browser and with out the $57+ Million per year from Google their is no way it would be anything close to what it is today. (Go capitalism!)

91 thoughts on “Would Firefox Exist Without Google Funding?

  1. esooomllub

    If that is what it takes for them to offer a viable solution to IE, I have no problem with it. I’ve changed the default home page on browsers the day I install them forever.

    1. Online Dividends

      So i guess if I have a semi-good search engine as google, but if I get over $185 million to Mozilla to have my site as the default search engine I will get a great market share overnight?
      But then IE comes out with MSN website by default, and yet people are still using google to search rather than Live..

  2. Loren Baker

    If Mozilla only served Google Search as a default engine because they liked it and it has nothing to do with money or bidding, then why the hell do they serve Yahoo Search in Japan and Asia? Why? Because the money was better : http://tinyurl.com/5ejs39

    I too am glad Google is funding Firefox … but I’m sure M$ is not :)

    1. cheap used cars

      anyone who makes a lot of money, chances are they are a republican, or at least vote that way. besides, would you make an intern the CEO of your company? no matter how promising that intern was???

      1. LetUsReviewIt

        Looks like the old washed up CEO who doesnt know what is going on in the world just hired someone as his number 2 who isn’t even intern level yet just because of her looks. God bless america

  3. GeorgeSorry

    Thank God, somebody is helping Firefox. I can’t run IE without it crashing on me every 5 minutes. If not for Firefox browing would be much more difficult.

  4. coops

    McCain just commited suicide if it is indeed the alaskan governor. Thanks for taking away the only scare tactic you had with the experience gig. Geesh let’s face it McCain is 72 making his VP choice all the more important.

  5. Mubin

    Thank God GOogle was willing to pay for the default spot. I am not sure if firefox would be as widely accepted as it is without the default search engine being GooGle. Plus at least this keeps GooGle out of the browser wars… for now.

    1. Jewellery

      They aren’t counting on the blessing, they’re counting on the fact that they’ve got a good product and Google are prepared to be the homepage for its web browsers ;)

    1. Le Melon

      I feel it’s faster, but it doesn’t deal with live bookmarks/feeds well for me.
      It tries to update all of them at the same time and even with just 10, FF3 becomes unusable for about a minute while it updates them all.
      Anyone else with a similar problem?

  6. Bryan

    I think they’d still exist but the market share wouldn’t be close and there definitely wouldn’t be as many kick A plugins.

    1. esooomllub

      it exists… but has no market share to speak of. Maybe if Firefox was not around it might, but as I recall it was a marginal browser (marketwise), long before Firefox came around.

  7. cheap used cars

    it may have been the ‘users choice’ before funding, but ever since they disclosed the search revenue they get from having google up there it was obvious they would never change.

  8. MarketingWicked

    I’m glad google is funding Firefox, and even more glad yahoo is not… just about anything they touch seems to crumble lately, let’s not take down a good browser with it

    1. Jewellery

      Cuil won’t invest in these browsers until it fixes its results. A Yahoo executive cloned Cuil called it Yuil and gave it better results using Yahoo Boss – then he had to remove it.

      Also Netscape is owned by AOL

  9. Ranked Hard


    If Yahoo had outbid Google to become the default engine they would have been making a humongous mistake. Most Firefox users are tech savvy and would just change the default to Google. Throwing money away like that is Microsoft’s department. Talk to them about outbidding Google.

    Yahoo is tied up in funding Flock anyway.

    1. web hosting rebates

      one thing I don’t like at yahoo is that once I log out from my email, they are redirecting me to their homepage (what if I would wanted to login to another email account !?!)…I quickly hit the x button. That’s why I can’t stand their homepage.

  10. Stelian Andrei

    Firefox has a long history if you take into account the fact that it’s based on Netscape. On top of that, it’s installed by default in several *NIX operating systems (which are slowly but surely gaining terrain). I wouldn’t be surprised if someday I see Microsoft scrape IE and offer Firefox as default browser (or something based on Firefox, maybe Internet Fox or Foxplorer or any other stupid name).

    In my opinion, even without the Google fundings, Firefox would continue to exist and improve. There is a large community of users and developers sustaining it.

  11. Andy

    You’re right Shoe, without the funding it wouldn’t be where it is. If Linux received this type of funding, it probably would have gone much further as well, though the opensource geeks prefer to pretend everything can be ideal on a completely volunteer, even socialist basis, people need monetary support in order to live and spend a great deal of time developing great products.

  12. Noobpreneur

    Capitalism does offer us opportunity – to enjoy a more secure browsing experience with more powerful tools added-on :P

    Hopefully, by being (close) to Google, Fifrefox and its user worldwide will enjoy some ‘perks’ ;)

  13. TEGS

    Mozilla in general rocks. They offer so many apps. Firefox, Gimp, Filezilla, KompoZer. All for free. It will constantly evolve because its open source.

  14. Andy Blackburn

    Even as a big fan of Firefox, I’ve had to switch to Safari until 3.0.2 is out, as 3.0.1’s memory and CPU usages issues grind my relatively high performing PC to a standstill.

    Here’s to some of Sergie’s cash pushing the next update out a little quicker!

  15. Dick

    Google makes a very correct bet on Mozilla. That gives him a huge advantage. I think that Google increases its influence through this.

  16. SawanM

    Google made a very good move by doing this, Firefox is the best browser alive, and will be so for a long time.

  17. Reid

    Yeah my life wouldn’t be complete without Firefox. As a web designer/developer Firefox is amazing, I just wish someone would make using IE against the law or something because it sucks!

  18. Stephanie

    It’s a pretty good deal for Firefox, either way. Pick the top search engine and use it as a default on your browser. If they want to pay for it, so much the better.

  19. David Brown Online

    If not google, Im sure other companies will jump in too. Firefox, Opera, anything mozilla has a precense in Windows, UNIX, PDA’s, Cell Phones. Having google back it obviously will beneficial for us users as they can continue to bring us more releases

  20. TylerC

    Good, keeping Mozilla’s pockets lined will continue to push competition at Microsoft in turn ending developers headaches as they clean up IE.

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  22. mohawkdonkey

    fire fox allows me to download music off of YouTube with one of thier plug INS. Saving me shit tons of money. Long live fire fox. Capitalism too. God bless America.

  23. Craig

    I wonder if the release of Chrome will change this? It seems like it would be sensible for Google to stop funding the competition if they want to ensure their browser dominates…

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  25. bob

    you mad a grammatical mistake. it should be ‘there’ not ‘their’ in your final line of the piece

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