Mozilla is doing well financially (2015)

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 2, 2016

Mozilla announced a major change in November 2014 in regards to the company's main revenue stream.

The organization had a contract with Google in 2014 and before that had Google pay Mozilla money for being the default search engine in the Firefox web browser.

This deal was Mozilla's main source of revenue, about 329 million US Dollars in 2014. The change saw Mozilla broker deals with search providers instead for certain regions of the world.

This meant a switch from Google Search as the default provider to Yahoo Search in the US, to Baidu in China, and to Yandex in Russia.

So, instead of brokering one deal with one company, and being completely dependent on that deal, Mozilla now had multiple sources of revenue.

Considering that Google is a direct competitor of Mozilla in the browser world, that move was also a strategic one.

Back in 2015, I stated that Mozilla would do well without Google financially. The organization released its financial statements for 2015 (PDF) yesterday, and they confirm that statement.

Mozilla Financials 2015

mozilla revenue expenses

Mozilla's revenue was $421 million US Dollars in 2015, a sharp increase from 2014's $329 million US Dollars. Nearly all of it, $417 million US Dollars to be precise, come from royalty payments.

The financial report does not disclose actual deal numbers unfortunately. We don't know how much Yahoo, Baidu or Yandex pay Mozilla to be the default Firefox search engine in select regions.

The majority of Mozilla revenue is from Firefox web browser search partnerships around the world. Mozilla’s work is also supported through grants and individual donations.

The annual report post of the Mozilla Foundation indicates that the company has brokered additional deals with companies such as Google and DuckDuckGo. According to the report, Mozilla has a total of 12 search partnerships in 2015 and 2016, and that next year's financial report will show notable improvements as well.

The new search strategy diversified revenue sources for Mozilla. While some of this is evident in the 2015 financials, the improvement will be more notable in 2016.

The last sentence suggests that Mozilla's revenue will increase even more than it did in 2015 thanks to additional search partnership deals which were not all reflected in the 2015 period.

Expenses have not risen nearly as much. Mozilla's total expenses in 2014 were $317 million US Dollars, in 2015 $337 million US Dollars. The bulk of the additional expenses went into branding and marketing which rose from $40 million in 2014 to $59 million in 2015.

An increase of $20 million in expenses, and an increase of more than $90 million in revenue.

Mozilla's net assets increased from $266 million to $323 million thanks to that.

Closing Words

Mozilla doing well financially is a good thing. Not only for users of Firefox, but also for the web community as a whole. It is the one major browser left standing between browsers maintained by large corporations.

With 2016 looking even better financially, it is fair to say that Mozilla won't crash and burn any time soon.

Mozilla is doing well financially (2015)
Article Name
Mozilla is doing well financially (2015)
Mozilla released its financial report 2015 yesterday, and it shows a sharp increase in revenue and a modest increase in expenses.
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  1. D. said on December 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I also meant to say competition will bring about innovation…maybe! Not just an Ad’s war on the consumer.

  2. juju said on December 4, 2016 at 11:51 am

    It’s true and false at the same time as with any other public statements by any given authority. We live in times of equality where war equals peace, freedom equals slavery, male equals female and so on. So in case of mozilla it’s no exception – they are not really doing well or bad as finances usually are calculated backwards in sharia, black budgets or “deficits don’t matter” economy. In fact i don’t think such organization as mozilla really exist apart facade shell that is involved in superficial things – encrypted community organizing, some graphic design and user interface.

  3. D. said on December 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    People need to take notice that some people just don’t want to see Google and Microsoft dominate everything. That is not even healthy for them that use their products. Competition is what it is all about.

    This is good news…

  4. Anonymous said on December 2, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    After doing business with Google… now they rely on Yahoo which destroyed Flickr, taking professional photographers and subscribers for less than nothing. Decidedly no ethics.

  5. Steve Hare said on December 2, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Well perhaps a little advertising touting the benefits of FF would be in order. Might help drive market share if they are competing against closed source companies. Regarding the financial; statements…are they released almost a year in arrears? That is, can we expect 2016 numbers in
    December 2017?

    1. Anonymous said on December 2, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      @Steve Hare Fiscal years do not necessarily match calendar years

      1. Steve Hare said on December 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Statement shown says “years ended December 31”.

  6. Inolvidable said on December 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    All in all, that is good news IMHO. The future of FF seems uncertain (at least in regards to their power user base), specially if privacy and/or security add-ons get affected by the E10s and WebExtension transition. On the other hand, as Martin states, FF is the onlly major browser not openly supported by a corporation with the sole purpose of harvesting our privacy.

    At the user level, Corporations seem to be winning against the Open Source alternatives in key fronts (Windows, Office 365, every Google service etc…). That is sad…

  7. Maou said on December 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Yet they are trying to ruin the extensions support…

    1. Le said on December 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      No they aren’t

      1. Supertramp said on December 2, 2016 at 6:24 pm


        Short term they are harming AMO support, no matter the efforts. (And people will have Chrome extensions to wipe their nose with)

        Medium and long term they really are improving support.

      2. Dave said on December 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        They really are

  8. Graham said on December 2, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Of course they’re doing well financially. Yahoo! gives them a ton of money every year.

  9. earthling said on December 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Hey Martin, nice to see that you reversed some recent changes to ghacks in regards to users without javascript enabled.
    Now everything works nicely again without needing to allow the stupid meta-refresh. Thanks! Please keep it this way.

  10. the-edmeister said on December 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Mozilla Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organization and as such donations need to be part of the revenue stream to protect their 501(c)(3) status. I believe that there is a minimum threshold ratio which needs to be met as far as the donations vs commissions / sales, which if not met can affect the tax-free exemption status..

  11. pd said on December 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Then why are they begging for donations on about:home ?

    Also, sacking your spiritual guru because he exercised his free speech, then him having the deceny not to sue (presumably?), would help profits immensely. Bastards.

    1. unitrko said on December 2, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      All the social justice programs cost money too. I wonder however if there aren’t any tangible benefits.

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