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The audited accounts for the Mozilla Foundation (Firefox) were recently released and it's clear that most of their income comes from a competitor.

Google's contribution made up 97% of income to the Foundation in 2012!

On the final day of 2011 I pondered the question of Firefox funding and the 2013 accounts now confirm the reports.

Google paid $300m to the Mozilla Foundation in 2012 to secure its place as the default search engine in Firefox. This is part of a three year deal. It's a tidy sum of money to blot out competitors (Apparently Bing and Yahoo were both sniffing about at the same time as Google).

We're now almost at the end of the second year of the 300m per year deal, so what will happen after next year? Will Google still value the Firefox browser enough to re-negotiate the deal? Google's Chrome is now a very successful browser in the market.

In the Browser Wars debate it seems impossible to get real facts. I've just studied two different reports.

One claims:

  • Internet Explorer 15%
  • Chrome 36%
  • Firefox 20%

And another:

  • Internet Explorer 58%
  • Chrome 15%
  • Firefox 18%

How widely different are these figures?!

Search engine stats do seem to roughly agree between various sources: Google 67%, Bing 18%, Yahoo 11%

If Google decide to end their 300m deal with Mozilla at the end of 2014 that leaves a huge gap for the Foundation to fill. Their financial statement also shows they spent $51m on administration and marketing, and over $150m on software development -- these are big numbers to fill if the Google funding dries up.

Let's hope Microsoft or Yahoo are feeling generous if Google walk away.

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