Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mozilla and Money

Due to anonymous threats from opensource fans i had to include this apology here. The information in this article is not relevant anymore. Mozilla is now an independent entity. The information that I used from the net for this article turned out to be outdated. Im sorry :)

How does Mozilla make money?

An innocent question at coffee time made me investigate this fundamental question and the answers were quite surprising. Following are some facts I have accumulated from the net:

The Mozilla browser started when Netscape, the maker of the once popular browsers Navigator and Communicator, gave its code to This "donation" was done so that Netscape would no longer have to spend millions on the drudge work of coding its browser. This drudge work was now to be done by unpaid enthusiasts.

Netscape is owned by the mega-congolmerate AOL-Time Warner (AOLTW). Thus, the original code that started the whole Mozilla project from Netscape is the property of a once $165 billion corporation.

Now, the licensing agreement that outlines to what extent Mozilla is open source shows that something fishy is behind the scenes. This license states that any code added to Mozilla is also open source (Section 3.2. Availability of Source Code). This assures that all new improved code that is ever made off of the Mozilla source, always goes back to Mozilla. This is a very tricky situation since the commercial Netscape browser is still downloaded and used. This new breed of Netscape browser (version 6 and the new version 7) is based SOLELY on Mozilla's code with extra commercial features that further AOLTW's grip on the Internet!!

Let's turn our attention to a browser named Komodo. While it is based on the free code done by the free programmers at Mozilla, it sells for $300 (yes three hundred) per copy. From an open source browser that obviously is free, a private company changes a few things, and viola!, a $300 browser is born!

Earlier, if AOL was used as the ISP for PCs in the US, the browser was IE which didn’t look so good. So they very conveniently shifted to the gold-mine at hand – Mozilla. What unsuspecting ‘volunteer programmers’ don’t realize is that AOLTW will sweep the code from them and use it in AOL. Let's count AOL's total subscribers: one, two, three... 34 million. At a simple $20 rate per month with the 34 million subscribers, that's $680 million dollars a month. That's at least $8.16 billion per year. Sure AOL does not use Mozilla code yet, but it will with AOL 8.0 or 9.0.

This means AOL is/will be making at least $8.9 billion per year off of code done by unpaid programmers. This figure does not count any money Netscape makes, any money that is gained by Netcape's influence, or how much third-party products such as Komodo rip off from Mozilla.

BTW, the official Mozilla statement is “Firefox generates most of its money through a tool that lets users search the Web with various search engines, and also search for products at Amazon and eBay. Firefox takes a small share of revenue through contracts with those partners.”

Mozilla makes 30 million a year like this: everytime someone does a Google search with Firefox and clicks on an Adwords ad, Mozilla gets money. Google calls this "Adsense for Search" and you can find more info about it on their website.

30 million vs almost 9 billion! Hmmm…

I guess as long as I have good looking tabs on my browser, I’m quite happy. ;)

For more, visit here.


Chandan R said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chandan R said...

Al the article on which you have based this blog post is outdated, as accepted by the writer. So most of the "facts stated in this blog"/"prediction made in the base article" are far from true.

There are some idiots out there who are spreading the wrong notion that open-source software is like communism. The author of that article is one such nut. Ahh.. I can only laugh at their lack of maturity.

Anonymous said...

@chand: hey sorry for not digging in deeper and thanks for the info.. i read the nxt article : and followed on the complete news.. looks like Mozilla isnt that dirty anymore afterall. But really.. does anyone know exactly how much it makes? I mean, how exactly does it generate revenue ?


Anonymous said...

Ever heard of opensource?

And for heaven's sake, either take down the article or edit it to show that it's not true.

Anonymous said...

I'm a threat?

Funny. :D