Google, Mozilla Growing Apart

    December 22, 2008

Compared to a lot of businesses out there, Mozilla’s got nothing to worry about; a search partnership with Google has guaranteed it revenue through 2011.  But with Chrome becoming more and more of a threat to Firefox, it’s hard not to view the link between the parent companies as being a bit strained.

One of the more obvious apparent breakdowns involves the promotion of Chrome instead of Firefox.  Until recently, you see, Firefox was bundled into the official Google Pack of free and useful software.  Now Chrome’s got its spot.  Google’s taken Chrome out of beta and expressed an interest in pre-installation on PCs, too, which should keep it in the spotlight.

Google Chrome Screenshot

Then there’s the financial side of things.  Of the $66 million Mozilla received in 2006, Google supplied it with about $56 million, so when the current search partnership does expire, Firefox’s maker might encounter some serious cash flow problems.

John Lilly, Mozilla’s CEO, told Gregg Keizer in response, "Our goal is to be an advocate for the Web for 50 or even 100 years, and you can’t depend on any one organization.  Our three-year agreement is the longest we’ve ever had.  This is a long-time horizon, so we don’t have to do anything super soon, but in the next three years we can continue to build products and develop revenue streams."

Lilly also said of his company’s connection with Google, "We have a fine and reasonable relationship.  But I’d be lying if I said that things weren’t more complicated than they used to be."