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Imagine Mozilla Firefox Without Google

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments

According to a report in BusinessWeek, executives at Mozilla (the company responsible for popular browser, Firefox), are thinking about cutting ties with Google.

Ever since Google launched its Chrome browser, people have been questioning the stability of the search giant’s relationship with Mozilla. While Google continues to support the Mozilla Foundation, the CEO of the latter has admitted recently that things aren’t exactly a bed of roses and said the relationship is strained. Today, news reports say Mozilla is rethinking things altogether.

Up until September it seemed like a fool proof deal penned to greatly benefit both parties. BusinessWeek reports that Google accounts for more than 88 percent of Mozilla's revenue, which totaled $75 million in 2007 and as more folks go Firefox, Google adds to its already huge share in the search market. Firefox has about 22 percent of the browser market placing it second only to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Chair Mitchell Baker told BusinessWeek that the company is busy brainstorming about other possible search partnerships as well as alternative ways to generate revenue. Baker said Google could breach the contract or simply decide not to renew in 2011 but that she doesn’t expect Google to do either. CEO of Mozilla John Lilly said in December that the Google agreement is the longest deal the company had entered into (three years) and detailed that one can’t depend on a single organization. He also said  companies cooperate in certain areas and compete in other areas all the time and that the company was cooperating with Google because it gives the best search experience, something that is a fundamental entry point to the web which, to us, roughly translates as, “This isn’t forever, we’re just biding our time.”

So Mozilla is thinking of alternatives, but what are they? Barker said an obvious one would be replacing Google with another search company and said that such a deal would present an easy way for a competitor to garner some of Google’s market share quickly. She detailed that one company had offered a blank check to take Google’s place but was quick to add it wasn’t Microsoft. Could that be the work of Yahoo!’s newly hired and fairly nutty CEO, Carol Bartz? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, this deal is on the rocks. The two companies may share a backyard, but we fear the collaboration between them is running into extra time.

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  • 6 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 12, 2009 5:09 PM
    That is sad. It was a good run. Put MS though its paces. There may never be a tour de force like Mozilla/Google at MS' heels again.
  • 5 Hide
    fuser , March 12, 2009 5:24 PM
    I'm not sure I follow. They think that if Firefox shipped with a different home page that people would switch from Google to that new search engine partner? I doubt it. The first thing I do when I start up a new browser is change the start page. I would use Google regardless of my choice of browsers.
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  • 5 Hide
    macer1 , March 12, 2009 5:42 PM
    Fuser were not the majority. MOST if not ALMOST ALL people who use a web browser couldn't even tell you how to even clear your browsing history , cache & cookies. so yea if firefox shipped with a new start page I'm sure the new start page would see a healthy increase in "searches"
  • 5 Hide
    deltatux , March 12, 2009 5:52 PM
    I think it's just a bad idea to cut ties with Google as it is the world's largest search engine. Heck, it's become an instinct for me to type www.google.ca without thinking whenever I need to look up something even when there's a Google searchbar.
  • 3 Hide
    skine , March 12, 2009 6:05 PM
    macer1Fuser were not the majority. MOST if not ALMOST ALL people who use a web browser couldn't even tell you how to even clear your browsing history , cache & cookies. so yea if firefox shipped with a new start page I'm sure the new start page would see a healthy increase in "searches"

    I would argue that the majority of those using Firefox actively chose a different browser, and would thus be intelligent enough to change their home page. It's the first option on the first tab in Preferences, or you can just drag the icon by the url about 20 pixels to the left to the home icon.
  • 6 Hide
    hellwig , March 12, 2009 6:14 PM
    I agree with macer1. The reason IE is still king is because many people don't even know there are other browsers out there, much less how to install them. This is why having that IE icon on the desktop by default is such a big issue with the EU and its anti-trust litigation. Its easy to say people will download or change what they want, but most people aren't technically inclined (this is why linux fails). These people are lucky they can find the power button on their computer. This deal between Google and Mozilla affects people who probably had FireFox installed on their computer by a friend or family member, and otherwise have no idea whats going on behind the scenes. All they do is search in Firefox, and right now that leads to Google. In the future it might lead to Yahoo! or Ask, who knows.
  • -4 Hide
    that_aznpride101 , March 12, 2009 6:49 PM
    skineI would argue that the majority of those using Firefox actively chose a different browser, and would thus be intelligent enough to change their home page. It's the first option on the first tab in Preferences, or you can just drag the icon by the url about 20 pixels to the left to the home icon.


    I really want to believe most of those who use Firefox use a different browser, but I myself use Google esp with the search bar on the top right. Would you have any research to back up this claim?
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , March 12, 2009 6:49 PM
    Regardless of internet savvy, I'm sure that Firefox switching default search companies would have an effect on the search engine market. It might only shift it a couple of percent, but that's a sizable amount. Of course I'm using Chrome as I type this (switched from FF), so now it seems that world of search has calmed down and the browser wars are starting to heat up again (especially with the new EU push to get IE out of Windows 7).
  • 2 Hide
    skine , March 12, 2009 7:12 PM
    that_aznpride101I really want to believe most of those who use Firefox use a different browser, but I myself use Google esp with the search bar on the top right. Would you have any research to back up this claim?

    I'm confused as to what you want me to back up. Firefox does not ship with Windows or Mac operating systems, which account for 98% of total operating system market share. Thus, for Firefox to hold 22% of the market, many using Mac or Windows must have actively installed Firefox as their primary browser.
  • -2 Hide
    fuser , March 12, 2009 7:53 PM
    hellwigI agree with macer1. The reason IE is still king is because many people don't even know there are other browsers out there, much less how to install them.

    I disagree. Anyone who reads a newspaper or watches television knows about Firefox. Back when IE was getting hit with malware on a weekly basis it was a regular feature on network news. People are just lazy.
  • 2 Hide
    Maxor127 , March 12, 2009 8:27 PM
    Nah, you give people too much credit. Most people are extremely computer illiterate and don't even know what a browser is. One of the most frustrating things is trying to help friends and family with their computers because they're completely clueless about everything, even ones who grew up with computers still don't know how to do much besides install games or use basic software. I think laziness factors in too but it's not that big of a percentage.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2009 8:32 PM
    Firefox Girl is hot
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 12, 2009 9:30 PM
    If the homepage was replaced with cuil or Ask.com alot of people may not change it. Yahoo kinda fell behind the times but it would still help for them to be the default page on some browser :D . I guess we'll see.
  • 4 Hide
    Greatwalrus , March 12, 2009 10:22 PM
    I use google a lot for my browsing and searching with Firefox. That's mainly because of the convenience of it being located in my address bar. I could change it any time, but I have no reason yet to do so.

    TH has had some good articles today, most of them very interesting to read and respond to.
  • -4 Hide
    cruiseoveride , March 13, 2009 12:25 AM
    Google = Evil
  • -1 Hide
    twisted politiks , March 13, 2009 1:15 AM
    I'm confused. If firefox and google go their separate ways, does this mean that www.google.com wouldn't exist when browsing the internet on firefox, or would this just mean that the default homepage on firefox would be different?
  • -1 Hide
    Flameout , March 13, 2009 2:55 AM
    gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a sh1t
  • 1 Hide
    Greatwalrus , March 13, 2009 3:03 AM
    twisted politiksI'm confused. If firefox and google go their separate ways, does this mean that www.google.com wouldn't exist when browsing the internet on firefox, or would this just mean that the default homepage on firefox would be different?


    Unless google and firefox started despising each other and decided they would not allow users to use each other's services, then Google and Firefox will always work together. If Firefox stopped allowing Google to be used, Firefox would lose tons of market share. If Google decided to stop allowing Firefox users, Google would lose tons of market share.
    I'm not an expert, so take my opinion with a grain of salt!
  • 3 Hide
    engrpiman , March 13, 2009 3:11 AM
    if they changes it , I would change it back to Google!

    There are a lot of technology illiterate people out there (I work with some).
  • 3 Hide
    randomizer , March 13, 2009 3:25 AM
    i never use the Firefox Google search page. I change my start page to the standard Google one straight away. I normally use the top-right search bar anyway.
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