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.