How Google Can Deal a Death Blow to Firefox

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News Posted: Sun, Dec 4 2011 12:21 PM
Firefox's future has never been as uncertain as it is right now. Let's start with the market share numbers and work our way from there. Depending on which web analytics firm you put your faith into, Mozilla's browser has either given up it's second place position to Google's Chrome browser, or is really close to doing so. NetMarketShare, for example, has Firefox sitting on a 22.14 percent of the global market at the end of November 2011, down from 25.02 percent in December 2009 (which is as far back as NetMarketShare goes). Chrome, meanwhile, is nipping at Firefox's heels with an 18.18 percent share of the market, up considerably from just 4.71 percent in December 2009.

If you head on over to StatCounter, you'll see numbers that show Chrome overtaking Firefox globally for the first time. According to StatCounter, Chrome is the browser of choice 25.69 percent of the time, slightly above Firefox at 25.23 percent.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Market Share

"We can look forward to a fascinating battle between Microsoft and Google as the pace of growth of Chrome suggests that it will become a real rival to Internet Explorer globally," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "Our stats measure actual browser usage, not downloads, so while Chrome has been highly effective in ensuring downloads our stats show that people are actually using it to access the web also."

Notice that Firefox isn't even in the discussion. Big whoop, right?  After all, browsers are free, so does it even matter which browser claims the most market share, or second most? The answer is a resounding 'Yes,' and for two main reasons. First, there's the influence browser makers have over web standards, or the ability to blatantly ignore them. Consider Internet Explorer's dominant reign up to this point. IE isn't the most standards compliant browser available, nor is it the fastest or most feature rich. But after it took out Netscape Navigator, there wasn't any real competition left, and much of the web was written to comply with IE rather than the other way around. HTML5 is an attempt to right the ship, but as long as IE maintains its market share lead, programmers will continue to write software for IE.

The other reason market share matters is money. Browsers are free, advertising is not. Search companies pay big bucks to have their search engine featured as the default option, and this is where Firefox is in trouble. Can you guess where most of Mozilla's money comes from? It's through a search partnership with Google! Check out these numbers.

In 2010, Mozilla's revenue was $123 million, and 84 percent of it -- more than $103 million -- came from Google. Think about that for a moment. The vast majority of Mozilla's revenue comes from a competitor who's jockeying for position in the browser race.

In Mozilla's most recent financial statement (PDF), the browser maker won't even mention Google by name, but suggests the numbers are similar. Mozilla says it "has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties which expires November 2011. Approximately 84 percent and 86 percent of royalty revenue for 2010 and 2009, respectively, was derived from this contract."


Source: shoze.blogspot.com

The unnamed search engine provider is Google, and the sultan of search is now off the hook, if it wants to be. If Google wants to bury Firefox, or at least make things difficult for Mozilla, all it has to do is not renew its contract. It's hard to imagine Microsoft stepping in and saving the day with a Bing partnership, not when IE's lead continues to slip. So where does Mozilla go from here?

Good question, and one ZDNet's Ed Bott tried to have answered. Specifically, Mr. Bott asked Mozilla if it's in discussions with Google to renew its contract, and if not, are there any contingency plans in place.

"We believe that search providers will remain a solid generator of revenue for Mozilla for the foreseeable future," was all Mozilla responded with.

Mozilla can believe in Santa Claus too if it wants, but what happens when the fat man doesn't come down the chimney with a sack full of cash?
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LBowen replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 12:34 PM

That picture is way too cute. I always use firefox and switch to chrome if there is content I am unable to view; I avoid IE like the plague. Too bad for firefox but sounds like google is going to take it's extra lunch money.

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LLeCompte replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 12:40 PM

Fire fox is a good browser, don't get me wrong. It Has a 64 bit version, and chrome doesn't. Fire fox needs to do something or it will have the same date as Netscape. Now if chrome comes out with a 64 bit version, fire fox could be in trouble.

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 1:38 PM

As I said before; Google's presence behind Chrome is it's driving force. I wouldn't expect Google to cut ties with Mozilla though; considering the fact they still release other applications for other platforms such as iOS. Sure, they could drive users away from Firefox by cutting their ties with Mozilla and releasing all of their apps on Android but it wouldn't make much sense due to the companies history involving certain things, despite it's monopolistic behavior. That doesn't mean things can't change in an instant, but at the moment I'm taking the left road on this.

Though if it does come to this then Mozilla is right; search engines will prove profitable. I mean there are three others they can go to if Google cuts them off. Bing, Yahoo! and Ask.com. I can't see Microsoft and Bing being together but Yahoo! I might be able to see, despite all of their troubles. I mean it'd be a major boost to their business if they have Firefox users using their search engine through a search partnership; and they need all of the users they can get around here.

Also I have to agree, that picture is pretty cute! Whoever drew that has a lot of talent.

 

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my new wallpaper :D, a bit stretched out lol.

Like the last post im still firefox till the end :)

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Aoshi replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 2:57 PM

I used to be a die-hard lover of firefox. Until recently it has been crashing on me a lot. I switched to Chrome and have not had the problem since. It sucks too because I had a lot of apps for firefox that aren't quite as good in chrome.

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The first thing I would be doing is changing my home page from the FireFox start page to something else if they change to Bing. I prefer FireFox to every other browser available, Chrome is far to simplistic and does not follow proper computing rules. Plus FF has the highest standardization of any of the browsers when it comes to following the W3 standards.

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Jedius replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 4:47 PM

Is there an easy way to transfer all my bookmarks/icons from the bookmark toolbar (not sure what this is called) in Firefox to something similar in Chrome?

Also, how do you find similar add-ons in Chrome as what you're using in Firefox?

Thanks,

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 5:14 PM

Jedius:
Is there an easy way to transfer all my bookmarks/icons from the bookmark toolbar (not sure what this is called) in Firefox to something similar in Chrome?

Hey... Even though this may be the wrong place to ask this, you might want to see if you can import your bookmarks and use the Google Chrome Bookmark Manager to move them to a Toolbar folder if avaliable.

Jedius:
Also, how do you find similar add-ons in Chrome as what you're using in Firefox?

Well the simplest thing you could do is just search for "addon name in firefox for chrome" on Google... For other extensions, you'd need to dig deep in Google's extensions page to find what you're looking for.

 

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Manduh replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 5:23 PM

Jedius:

Is there an easy way to transfer all my bookmarks/icons from the bookmark toolbar (not sure what this is called) in Firefox to something similar in Chrome?

When you go through the setup for Chrome it will ask you if you want to import, from FF or IE, your favorites/bookmarks and some other settings, I can't remember what all it imports but it was easy to do, I just had some minor organizing to do.  

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The blow has already been dealt, now its just the knock out punch.

Chrome FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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SLine replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 8:07 PM

I will also stay on Firefox as long as possible. Google is getting too big for me to trust them anymore. I doubt Google will deny Firefox from using google search -- search is Google's biggest business they don't make money off Chrome.

Although it's just accusation so far I believe Eric Schmidt ripped off the iPhone to create Android, and that seems like a change of attitude for Google - from 'do no evil' to 'some evil is ok'. Google is too big to trust they may be the next microsoft.

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I like Chrome. If it had a customizable zoom button it would be perfect!

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AHasin replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 3:42 AM

The best is Google Chrome!!!!Big Smile

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MBuj replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 4:08 AM

HAHUO

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tanmoy replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 4:12 AM

Wl there is so much going in this world. google and mozila are compeditiors bt sm how it looks that chrome jst kept mozila in thair hands.....vry gud marketing stratagy is going ......wl i looks vry interesting......bt i specily like the google chrome. it takes less time to open pages compare to any other browser .....lets see how this two compeditors behave in features in future......

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 8:41 AM

As far as the bookmark thing goes I use Xmarks and Bookmark toolbar. As far as the browser thing goes I use FF and Chrome for different things, and I have not used IE in many years on any basis what so ever.

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Sure, Google COULD severely hurt Mozilla's income with such a power play. However, just as easily, they could hand a competing search engine a rather large share of their market. There's one unavoidable fact this article neatly ignores: The most security conscience people will continue to use Firefox, no matter if their search box is limited to Yahoo and Bing. Even if Google blocked Firefox from its site, those people would continue to use Firefox.

Until the day Chrome has a fully functioning NoScript, Firefox will remain the king of browsers. There is simply no safer way to browse the internet than Firefox + NoScript at the moment. Firefox will retain an extremely dedicated base of users for this reason alone, and Google would be rolling the dice to alienate those users without providing a real solution of their own, which is not currently supported with Chrome's plugin structure (one needs to look no further than the incredibly clunky and less-than-effective NoScript-like attempts on Chrome to see the effects).

If given the choice between using Chrome and Google, or Firefox and Yahoo / Bing / Etc, then it's bye-bye Google, without hesitation.

Google gains greater returns on the search revenue from Firefox users than Mozilla does on their contract with Google, otherwise Google would have never agreed to said contract in the first place. It would be incredibly bad business sense to abandon that revenue and alienate a segment of the market so that something you give away for free might be given away more.

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Firefox + NoScript +Adblock Plus > all others

Plus I refuse to use a browser that is not completely open source on my personal machines.

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gazd1 replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 9:50 AM

Well you will not get me leaving any of Mozilla's browsers at all. I've got several computers & I use all the most common browsers that there are. I only have chrome on one of my computers, the rest are mixed between Internet Explorer and a few of Mozilla's browsers also.

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gloriad1 replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 10:45 AM

I've always used IE and Firefox, so I guess that you won't see me change yet for a long time either.

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gloriad1 replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 11:55 AM

This all googles monopoly making ideas that have been planed years in advance.

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Schmich replied on Mon, Dec 5 2011 7:16 PM

I still prefer FF but I do often open up Chrome for quick things. Google will keep supporting Firefox. It's in their best interest. As long as IE6, 7 and 8 fade away, the Internet wins.

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94_xj replied on Tue, Dec 6 2011 12:56 AM

I think it's in Google's best interest to keep supporting Firefox. Keep some competition out there, develop your own enhancements and see what they develop then see what they did that works and compare it to your own product. It's basically a secondary R&D team for them with less paperwork.

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xmarks if its still around.

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I like both firefox and chrome. I prefer firefox just s bit more, only because it allows Battlelog in BF3 to run smoother on my rig. For some reason, through chrome, it gives me problems.

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