Feeds

Mozilla isn't a charity case - and Google's $300m will do nicely

Paying for Google search in Firefox is just business

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Open ... and Shut Some people seem to think Google gave Mozilla a sweetheart deal when it renewed its search agreement for Firefox. At roughly $300 million per year, it will fund quite a bit of open-source development at Mozilla, but this isn't a case of Google going soft during the Christmas season. It is, as Mozilla veteran Asa Dotzler argues, simply a case of Google paying the going market rate for traffic to its ads.

It's unclear why people don't grok this. Google, for all its "Don't do evil" sloganeering, is a business, not a charity. It simply isn't going to spend approximately $1 billion over the next three years subsidizing a rival to its browser, Chrome.

Not unless it expects a lot more than $1 billion to walk back in the door, in the form of advertising revenue.

MG Siegler speculates that the deal may be about heading off an antitrust inquiry. It's not, though that's a great side benefit. Kara Swisher posits that the size of the deal is reflective of price competition from Microsoft. Maybe.

But what's lost in such stretching to find a motive in the deal is the most obvious one of all: it makes financial sense for both parties.

Google engineer Peter Kasting insists that viewing Chrome and Firefox as bitter enemies is silly:

People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads. It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done.

Chrome has certainly managed to force Mozilla to improve its Firefox game, not to mention Microsoft and Internet Explorer. But if Google were the only one building the browser on-ramp to its web services, and advertising revenues, it would be a Pyrrhic victory indeed.

Nor is Mozilla alone in making money by sending Google search-related advertising revenue. As Dotzler points out, Google is "no more donating to Mozilla than they are to Opera or Apple, both of which derive significant revenue by sending search traffic to Google".

Coming up with Sun T'zu The Art of War-type analysis of the deal may make for gripping reading, but it's not very accurate in this case. The Google/Mozilla deal is a boring case of two organizations partnering out of self-interest. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Nodeable, offering systems management for managing and analyzing cloud-based data. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.