Mozilla will do well financially without Google


When Mozilla announced a year ago that it would not renew the search deal it had with Google in favor of regional deals that would give the organization more flexibility and independence, a turning point was reached.

Instead of being dependent on a single source of income, Mozilla suddenly was less dependent than before.

According to sources near Mozilla, the decision was made in part because of contractual restrictions by Google which limited the browser’s search UI and likely also related features such as Tracking Protection.

This came at the cost of switching default search engines for Firefox users in specific regions of the world, and not everyone liked that obviously. It is easy enough to switch the search engine however in the Firefox web browser and that’s likely the main reason why the change did not blow up in Mozilla’s face.

My impression back then was that it was a good move for Mozilla, and also beneficial to part of Firefox’s user base thanks to regional providers such as Baidu or Yandex replacing Google Search in China and Russia respectively.

Last year’s financial statement, which Mozilla published yesterday, still shows Google as the major source of income, but next year, that is going to change.

About 323 million US Dollar of the 329 million US Dollar revenue total came from royalty deals in 2014, and most of that came from Google Inc.

Things will be very different in 2015. Mozilla has no commercial relationship with Google anymore at this point even though the company’s search engine is still default in most of Europe for example.

According to Mozilla’s Chief Financial Officer Jim Cook (via Cnet), the 2015 figure’s will even be better thanks to the strategic move to find regional search partners for Firefox instead of a global one.

Money-wise, things are looking good as well. Mozilla had about 266 million US Dollars in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2014 which is an increase of about 10 million US Dollars from a year earlier.

Mozilla’s major expenses

mozilla expenses

Where does that money go? Software development accounts for the bulk of the money (212 million US Dollars) followed by branding and marketing with $40 million, general and administrative with $38 million, and program services with $13 million. In fact, expenses rose by $22 million in 2014.

The future

Mozilla continues its investment in mobile products such as Firefox OS, and mobile apps for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system. According to Net Market Share, Firefox had a mobile usage share of less than 1% in 2015.

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