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Mozilla Financial Report Shows its Increasing Importance to Google

Mozilla Financial Report Shows its Increasing Importance to Google:

“While technically speaking Mozilla is a non-profit corporation, its most recent financial results indicate what a big operation it has become and its increasing importance to Google, whose search box comes included with the Firefox browser. For its most recent fiscal year (2006), Mozilla reported revenue of $66.8 million, up more than 25 percent from last year. According to Mozilla, 85 percent of that revenue came from its partnership with Google, who serves ads alongside the search results generated by the Firefox browser.”

At last, the Mozilla folk have managed to do something which Netscape never really managed: a significant revenue stream from browser software alone. If someone had told Netscape that the Mozilla would be hitting that much revenue, I wonder if it would have ever opened up the source code?

(Via Items shared by Robert.)

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  • http://profile.typekey.com/frankhecker/ Frank Hecker

    To correct one point: Netscape *did* have “a significant revenue stream from browser software alone”; in fact, the vast majority of Netscape’s revenue came from the browser. People don’t realize this because Netscape Navigator and Netscape Communicator were effectively free to individual users; the real revenue came from enterprise licenses bought by corporations and government agencies. The problem was that this revenue stream went away with the success of IE as a free (as in beer) alternative, and at the time (late 1990s) Netscape couldn’t find an alternative model that didn’t involve selling licenses.

    (Full disclosure: I used to work at Netscape, and now work at the Mozilla Foundation.)

  • Asa Dotzler

    Actually, it was ad revenue associated with the browser that kept Netscape going long enough to release and tend to the source code for several years.

    Really from the day that Microsoft bundled IE, Netscape’s browser-based revenue moved over to almost exclusively ad-related business. New Communicator and Navigator releases were used to drive traffic to an ever-more advertising-laden Netscape.com homepage/portal.

    Not many people realized it at the time, but the organization building the Netscape browsers, and shepherding the Mozilla open source project, reported into the group that managed Netcape and AOL’s web properties.

    The browser wasn’t much more than a tool to drive ad impressions and AOL/TW/Netscape made tens of millions of dollars off of advertising so I don’t think there’d be anything terribly surprising to them (and those of us still with Mozilla) to see this variation on a theme.

    The big difference is that we’re building a product that people really love and want to use and we’ve provided features which have an advertising component (search services serving ads to people) but which are provided because they are useful, not because there’s revenue associated with them.

    We’ve actually had a collection of search services built into the browser going back to 1998 and 1999. It wasn’t until Firefox, in 2004, however, that we found a way to make the overall product more appealing and the search service more discoverable and useful.

    – A

  • http://profile.typekey.com/ianbetteridge/ Ian Betteridge

    Frank, Asa – Thank you both for your very interesting comments!

  • Asa Dotzler

    Oops, I didn’t mean to make that sound like a response to Frank. I was composing at the same time as him and my comment was intended as a reply to the original post and not to Frank’s comment.

    Also, I used to work at Netscape and am now a Mozilla employee too :-)

    – A