Mozilla's annual report for 2012 highlights dependency on Google

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 22, 2013

mozilla annual report

The Mozilla Foundation has published its annual report for the year 2012 yesterday. The foundation managed to increase the total revenue in 2012 by almost 90% in comparison to the year before. Revenue rose to $311 million US Dollars from $163 million a year before that.

About 90% of that revenue comes from a deal with Google that Mozilla signed back in November 2011 that makes Google Search the default search engine of the Firefox browser until November 2014.

About 90% of revenue came from Mozilla's deal with Google which paid the foundation $274 million in royalties, nearly doubling the 2011 payment of $138 million.

Expenses have not seen the same growth as the foundation's revenue. They did increase to $208 million Dollars from $145 million the year before though.

Software development, program services and branding & marketing all saw an increase in expenses in 2012 compared to the year before that.  About 70% of expenses went into software development of products such as the Firefox web browser or Firefox OS.

The foundation's net assets rose to $240 million at the end of 2012, up from $170 million the year before covering more than a year of 2012 expenses.

The foundation can plan safely for the two coming years, considering that the deal with Google will end in November 2014 at the earliest.

It is clear that Mozilla is highly depend on that one deal with Google to keep up its operations, and while that is secured until 2014, it should be clear that diversification of income should be a top priority of the foundation.

Mozilla highlights that this is the case in the FAQ that was released alongside the annual report:

We currently have several key business partnerships and are actively exploring new ones, as well as other potential revenue opportunities.  [..]

Some key Mozilla Foundation projects like Lightbeam have received grants from organizations such as the Ford Foundation.

It is interesting to note in this regard that Firefox's usage share has been in decline for some time now. While it is still a top three web browser in most usage share statistics, all indicate that the browser's share has dropped in the past 12 months.

So what would happen if Google decided not to renew the contract with Mozilla? Mozilla has enough assets to survive more than a year without revenue if expenses do not get out of hand.

If Google declines, other partners may be found, and the most likely one is Microsoft with its Bing search engine provided that the new CEO does not sell or shut down the search engine business.

As it stands now, Mozilla can plan safely for the next two years as money from the Google deal will be available in that time. It should however seek other revenue opportunities in that time to diversify the income and reduce the dependency on a single company in terms of revenue.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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