Mozilla Gets Critical About Google


Mozilla’s Firfox browser has turned five, and while it took a lot of time and money to get to where it is, the folks at Firefox are starting to bite the hand that fed them… Google.


Mozilla and Google have something of a strange relationship. As we mentioned earlier on in the year when we got a chance to talk to some of the guys from both Mozilla and Opera, most browsers make a significant proportion of their money from that little Google search bar in the top right… Google pays for the traffic sent their way from different browsers, browsers can be offered for free, it’s an ideal arrangement, except Google has had more involvement than that with Firefox.

According to The Register[], when times were hard and Firefox was still an up-and-coming enterprise, Google contributed a significant amount of both money and code to the project. Moreover, they’re fast to point out that Google money accounted for more than 85% of Mozilla’s revenues in 2006 and 2007.

Still, regardless of any friendliness between the two, you can imagine that the Mozilla team weren’t too pleased with Google’s overall web strategy… one which includes its own browser, Chrome. Mozilla’s own Asa Dotzler says of Google,

“I hope that there is renewed competition in the search space and in the advertising space and in revenue models for the web beyond advertising. I fear that we would end up in a worse case scenario where the users of the web become consumers of content who sit in front of commercial advertising all day long and have no control over their experience. And that sounds like cable TV to me. The internet can be so much more.”

It’s certainly an interesting line to take, especially given the fact that Mozilla is being paid largely out of the Google coffers. Still, we’ll be curious to see if Google responds to the accusation from the Firefox team members that it doesn’t have a lot of “alignment with the big picture of the internet.”

If you’d like to read more, The Register[] has an excellent three page piece on it, going into some very close detail indeed on the relationship between Firefox and Google.


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