Would Firefox Exist Without Google Funding?

by Jeremy Schoemaker on August 29, 2008 · 91 comments

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!)

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Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

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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.

2 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..

3 Myrtle Beach Rentals

I’m the same way, I change the default browser day 1. I don’t like MSN

4 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 :)

5 Brent

“Go capitalism!”

Do this mean that you now support McCain instead of Obama? :D

6 Jeremy Schoemaker

Its going to be a tough choice for me for sure.

7 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???

8 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

9 Dick

This comment is called “a step without any policy”. -)))

10 Myrtle Beach Rentals

you are right, this November is going to be tough. Honestly I don’t like either one

11 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.

12 cheap used cars

ever heard of opera?


13 Gossip

Opera is not so popular comparing with FF & IE.

14 Le Melon

Best browsers:
Firefox (my fav)

special mentions:
offby1 (lightweight)
IE6 (if it displayed pages correctly)

15 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.

16 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.

17 Jagat

Indeed Google makes the world go around!! And Mozilla can count on the moolah and the blessings!!

18 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 ;)

19 stevewrightaz

Thank god for Google, thank god for firefox. btw, does anyone else think firefox 3 is a bit slower than the last? I’m not sure if its just me or what.

20 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?

21 Bulbboy

It’s just a better browsing experience, with very few crashes. Does that make me a firefoxtard?

22 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.

23 Nimic

I don’t know what I’d do without Firefox. Certainly, I wouldn’t be running IE…

24 web hosting rebates

there’s always opera or safari…both of them are pretty good and way better than IE.

25 Jewellery

There are many other browsers out there including the ones web hosting rebates has mentioned.

26 wesley

Opera seems to exist without google. Is there a mobile version of firefox?

27 web hosting rebates

is not ready for user testing yet…The name of the mobile version is Fennec

28 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.

29 web hosting rebates

google is leading the internet world, no doubt about that

30 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.

31 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

32 Tom

Maybe Cuil has a few spare change to fund Netscape?

33 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

34 JumboCasher.com

Its all about the money honey… and googles got it in plenty!

35 Cigar Inspector

Just noticed your new upgraded design (I’m using a feed reader). Looks great!

36 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.

37 Jewellery

Most people who aren’t tech savvy also know how to change their homepage just like they have been setting it in Internet Explorer.

38 meethere

I think they are earning from per search made..
OR a share from sponsored ads click..

39 GolfBargainHunters

It’s very hard to compete against Microsoft, even if you have better technology. So the money that Google pay Mozilla is very important for their existence.

40 poor jokes

this seems right logic that yahoo shoud invest on firefox that would help building its user base

41 jim of Blueprint for Financial Prosperity

I think it’s great that Google supports Firefox, it’s my browser of choice. IE simply doesn’t compare to the features FF offered even a few versions ago. IE’s catching up, but it’s still late to the party.

42 web hosting rebates

I won’t say that they are late to the party because they are still leading browser market share. Firefox has somewhere around 19%-20% and IE around 70%-72%

43 Monty's Mega Marketing

The ultimate irony is that I’ve changed my Firefox home page to Yahoo.com.

44 SEO Tricks

HAHA! Even its same with me… I was sick of that Google FireFox Page

45 Jewellery

The Google Firefox Homepage is nice, infact they should make their site have that background consistently.

46 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.

47 Amit

Hell yeah! But Google has made the deal more lucrative for Firefox

48 Zac Johnson

FireFox is awesome, and wouldn’t be the same without the funding from Google… just like the millions received in donations at Wikipedia.

49 team ray

yes it would exist

if you have a great product

50 Jewellery

It would exist but it wouldn’t have got to the stage it is at now due to Google providing 85% of its funding.

51 JR @ Internet Marketing Strategies

I am happy too, Firefox rules, especially when you look at the alternative piece of crap called IE!

52 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.

53 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.

54 Patrick

I’m not surprised. That partnership is quite nice. $180M for 3 years… not too bad. Go Firefox! Go Google! Go Obama ;) !

55 Tom Jones

I am glad they have the funding also. Firefox has been my main browser of for several years.

56 LetUsReviewIt

I think firefox is living in a fantasy world if they think they would be anything without google.

57 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’ ;)


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

59 Oozzl networking

Firefox would have been killed by Microsoft if Google didn’t fund them.
Great job, Google….

60 Oozzl networking
61 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!

62 Dick

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

63 SawanM

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

64 Lowongan Kerja

I think it is a win-win solution for them.. and us

65 Scot

Does Google (through Performics) even offer their affiliate program from Firefox anymore?

66 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!

67 Dick

IE is a base browser for many backward countries. Almost half of all Internet users enjoy them.

68 Joshua

My Firefox has a hole in it! Leaking memory…

69 SawanM

No problem if you have a good computer.

70 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.

71 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

72 Custom T-Shirts

As an open source project, I’m not sure why Mozilla requires $180 million to operate in the first place…

73 Eva White

Come on it makes sense. Given a choice who would you align yourself with Yahoo or Google. Of course the cash must sweeten the deal.

74 TylerC

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

75 Dustin Cucciarre

Oh yea they would be around but not nearly as big.

76 sergio.dares

Firefox is great product – why not?

77 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.

78 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…

79 Kenneth Dreyer

I’m sure they would still be around.. actually, they would probably be funded by MSN instead!

80 jack

yeah probably , if google stops the funding , yahoo will jump right in (since they can’t make a deal with chrome) ..

81 Ways To Earn Online

Thats good for Mozilla. I love Firefox anyway. Google and firefox makes a great combination.

82 CultureMob.com


83 Harish

I agree that firefox is loved by people world wide.I would say that it can exist without google but it need google too.

84 the flip

I currently have been using Microsoft’s IE.

85 Hipolito M. Wiseman

it is grate tiffany bolg. thanks

86 bob

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

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