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Google funds hold Firefox fate (for sure)

85 per cent of all revenue

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If there was any doubt that Google has the power to pull the plug on Firefox, it's been laid to rest.

This week, the Mozilla Foundation released its 2006 financial statement, telling the world that Google provides 85 per cent of the revenue for the foundation and its Mozilla Corp. subsidiary.

The footnote lists "concentrations of risks": "Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties," reads a footnote buried at the bottom of the statement. "Approximately 85 per cent of Mozilla's revenue was derived from this contact."

Yes, that search engine provider is Google. Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker says as much in a blog post about the foundation audit.

In 2006, Mozilla pulled in revenues of $66,840,850. That's up 26 per cent from 2005, and as Baker says, most of it can be traced back to Mountain View. "As in 2005 the vast majority of this revenue is associated with the search functionality in Mozilla Firefox, and the majority of that is from Google." A customized version of Google.com pops up when you launch Firefox, and there's a Google search box tucked into the browser's top right-hand corner.

Last month, The Reg questioned whether Mozilla has endangered its future by embracing AdBlock Plus, a Firefox plug-in that puts the kibosh on all sorts of internet ads, including many served up by Google. As AdBlock becomes more and more popular, the Mountain View outfit may or may not take issue with the plug-in. But if it does, it certainly has the leverage to take some action. Google's contract with Mozilla runs out in November next year. ®

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