Would Firefox Exist Without Google Funding?

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 itโ€™s the service they want.

Or to put it another way, Yahoo couldnโ€™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!)