Ed Bott at ZDNet:
Mozilla has lost share to Google, it’s lost the loyalty of enterprise customers, and it’s lost key talent. And a deal with Google that supplied 84% of its revenue last year was scheduled to end in November.
Most Firefox users don’t know how the company pays its bills. The majority of its income — about $100 million annually — is from Google, who pays Mozilla for using Google by default in the stock homepage and built-in search box.
But the term of that deal just ended, and apparently nobody from either Mozilla or Google will confirm whether it has been renewed. I’m sure Google would renew it at the right price, but as Chrome chips away at Firefox’s marketshare, it probably isn’t worth the same price to them anymore.
It might be worthwhile for Google just to keep Microsoft from buying that promotion for Bing. Because if anyone’s willing to throw massive piles of money at gaining marketshare that isn’t worth anywhere near what they spent to gain it, it’s Microsoft. Given the history between Firefox and Internet Explorer, though, it would be pretty entertaining if Microsoft made such a deal, effectively sponsoring Firefox’s continued development.
I’m a bit sad for Firefox. It used to be the fast, powerful, progressive browser that finally broke IE’s era of stagnant dominance and saved web developers’ sanity. Now, it’s a bloated, slow, unstable monster that’s often a pain in this web developer’s ass.
It’s losing marketshare to Chrome for very good reasons. There’s no place for it in mobile, where most of the growth and action is happening in the industry, and most of their other recent attempts at new platforms and products have fizzled out.
I’m not sure Firefox can be saved. It might continue for a long time as a fringe browser choice, like Opera, but I don’t see how its marketshare will ever increase again.