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back to article Google underwrites Firefox another year, even as Chrome outpaces it

The good news for the Mozilla Foundation is that its revenues for calendar year 2012 were nearly double what they were the previous year. The bad news is that the lion's share of those funds once again came from internet advertising mega-giant Google. The nonprofit published its latest annual report and audited financial …

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Not at all surprised

to see Chrome pass Firefox, considering the malware-like fashion in which it is generally distributed. After all, there are probably a good many other botnets and spyware networks that have larger "userbases" than Firefox for much the same reason!

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Re: Not at all surprised

Yup, Mrs Diogenes very nearly installed it with the latest Flash update (normally I don't bother but she wanted the nagging message to go away) - I nearly installed it with some other stuff I was downloading.

Our TSO installed Chrome on the computers in my lab, so I uninstalled it - the kids whinged - so I put it back with ghostery installed on all browsers (Firefox, Chrome. Opera & IE) the kids are now surprised at how much "snappier" the "general" web has become (I have emailed microsoft to see if they have an A2 poster of the "keep calm" - when I start the internet unit next year I will get them to time some surfing with without ghostery & research just how many people are tracking them, ASIO. MSS & NSA aside :-)

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JC_

Re: Not at all surprised

Mrs Diogenes very nearly installed it with the latest Flash update (normally I don't bother but she wanted the nagging message to go away)

Understandable, but risky, considering all the vulnerabilities!

If the kids want their Chrome, how about one of the other Chromium-based browsers? Having used SWare Iron for a few weeks, it's worth a recommendation - all the Chromium goodness without the phoning home.

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Paris Hilton

Bizarre

So Google pays Mozilla to make an identical clone of Chrome that competes with ... itself.

What's the point?

Or have I missed something really obvious?

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Re: Bizarre

Yes, a whole world of PR

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Re: Bizarre

Why?

BECAUSE THEY CAN! (Ominously evil lightning & thunder)

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Re: Bizarre

Because Google isn't in the browser business. They're in the search box inside the browser business. In this case Google is a parts supplier. Instead of attempting to capture all the browser users with a single product offering, nearly impossible, they just make sure their search capabilities are available in as many different browsers as possible. The browsers are only the vehicle that carried the Google product.

It's smart business, no matter your industry, if you've got a product that all offerings in a category can use. Even if you have to fund integration out of your own pocket you're building an unofficial industry standard that people just go to. A parts supplier will generally outlast the headline product manufacturers as well, you just tweak your part to suit the current fashion. You don't have to rebuild/reinvest in an entirely new, complex product.

Different product, but same concept, until the early 2000's the most profitable part of laptops ('notebooks' now) were the hinges for the display. The company driving all that would pay for the integration R&D to make their parts work in your products. It cost them a lot of money but for a very long time one company was designing and manufacturing a huge percentage of all the laptop hinges in the world. A lot of people got wealthy in that.

You have to spend money to make money and all that.

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Re: Bizarre

Google don't care what browser you use. They pay Firefox because if they didn't Bing would probably be the default search option in Firefox. The revenue that Google pay to Firefox is only a small percentage of the profits Google make from Firefox. If they didn't, someone else would make the profits. It's a no-brainer.

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Re: Bizarre

@Don Jefe - "Because Google isn't in the browser business. They're in the search box inside the browser business. In this case Google is a parts supplier. Instead of attempting to capture all the browser users with a single product offering, nearly impossible, they just make sure their search capabilities are available in as many different browsers as possible."

Finally! A sensible thought on this subject. Do all these nitwits not understand that Google is an Advertising company? And that NO ONE makes money off of giving away free browsers by themselves?

Chrome is not in competition with Firefox you bunch of goofballs. Google could care less which browser you use, as long as you conduct all your searches through them.

It's like saying "Google hates the iPhone and iPad". Google undoubtedly makes more money per iPhone and iPad than it does per Android device. They don't give a shit - they just want MORE people on the interwebs. Wake the hell up people.

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Re: Bizarre

Honestly, I think the 'Ford' vs 'Chevy' debate that goes on with all things tech is the slickest bit of marketing going. Do people really think Steve Ballmer hates Eric Schmidt or that inside MS corporate there's a list of big OSS contributors who pose a danger to their products? That's just insanity and nobody runs a business like that.

It's all down to consumers attempting to justify their own purchases and it's 100% beneficial to both manufacturers being championed in any given debate and negative to neither. People can scream 'product (x) is shit, product (y) is the greatest thing ever, and it has only positive implications for both companies. People don't understand brand marketing and that simply by mentioning the competing brand or one of its features (or lack thereof) is more effective messaging than a marketing company could ever contrive. Everybody except the consumer wins in those debates. It's pure genius to get consumers so emotionally invested in their products that they'll do marketing for you, and pay for the opportunity to do it.

Meanwhile, the real margin making processes are bringing in the free and clear money one click at a time and nobody even notices or even cares to know that's the real business. Genius.

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Re: Bizarre

You've missed the most incredibly obvious point. If FF fell by the wayside, Chrome would be venturing into the monopoly side, and given how Google promote that it's better you use it on all their sites, this would cause them a possible problem from the Microsoft side, who hate no one likes IE, and so, queue Europe investigation. Google needs there to be competition, even if its them supporting the competition.

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Re: Bizarre

Every industry requires competition. Legislative issues aside, without competition there is no justification for continued product development. No good businessman and no Board of Directors is going to approve R&D spend when there's no other option for the consumers. That's insanely bad business.

Without external pressure to improve the only way to continue revenue growth is by reducing production costs. Revenue remains ~stable, but margins increase. That's fine for a while but in short order you've exhausted all your options and stagnate. Then, and only then, a 'disruptive' force can enter from left field and completely drain your stagnated pond. You have no ability to counter because you've eliminated R&D and the new option will succeed simply through novelty. It doesn't even need to be superior, just different. (Incidentally, 'disruptive' products usually fail because they entered the market before real stagnation has begun to occur. Different is a bad thing while people are still buying the old thing. It's why Apple doesn't have to put out new products all the time. People still want the old things).

Competition is good for everyone and most businesses (even MS) do not plan for a monopoly situation. They happen organically due to innumerable random factors beyond any one groups control. But mostly, nobody wants a monopoly because the situation permanently caps revenue growth and for Capitalism to function there must be, in theory at least, the potential for infinite growth.

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Re: Bizarre

"Google could care less which browser you use, as long as you conduct all your searches through them."

On the contrary - I'm sure that Google couldn't care less.

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Re: Bizarre

@Oh Homer. I upvoted you, but mainly because you linked to the previous firefox article that shows the latest look of firefox is to become... chrome. Seriously what is the point of them making an identical browser? Same with Opera. I stopped using chrome because:

a) Constantly changing the version number makes it impossible to search for issues/bug fixes (if I have an issue that applies to v15 through to v24, how on earth do I search for that?)

b) Constantly changing the UI annoys me

c) I like a separate search box

Since Firefox 4, a) and b) were already like chrome, and c) was all that was holding me to them. Opera were great until v15 also. Why are they all falling over themselves to look and behave like Chrome? If I wanted a browser that looked like Chrome, behaved like Chrome, and pushed me to Google search like Chrome, I would use bloody Chrome!

/rant, deep breath, I really should stop caring so much about these things, I'm sure there are more important things in life...

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Silver badge

Me too

I have installed Chrome on at least five PCs, just because I heard it well spoken of and wanted to have a second string to my bow in case of difficulties. (IE doesn't count as a string - I use it only when it's the only way to get some Microsoft-related program to work properly, and then with due consideration of the security hazards).

In fact I do occasionally use Chrome; there is the odd site that doesn't print out properly with Firefox, etc. Oh, and it's slightly quicker to invoke Google Translate with Chrome. But if anyone were to measure the amount of time I spend in Firefox compared to Chrome, it would be no contest. I'm still waiting to find anything that Firefox doesn't do at least adequ8ately.

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Unhappy

Google

Google have become far too powerful and I am becoming uncomfortable about relying on so many of their services. It does not help that they in the pocket of the NSA and (speaking as a non-US citizen) are happy to feed all of the (widely intercepted) data they have gathered on me to US government agencies.

I am living in Japan currently and the ease with which Google Translate integrates with Chrome on Linux and Android is very useful to me. Also Google maps has been invaluable when I have needed to (quickly) navigate around huge, strange cities.

I strongly desire to free myself from their clutches in the same way I have dropped Microsoft by using Debian on my laptop. Where is the competition? For searching https://startpage.com/ looks good. Will "market forces" allow other alternatives to Google services to appear.

The internet used to seem so cool and free...

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Re: Google

You're delusional if you think the internet was ever "free".It isn't and was never that way. You may want to consider that it started as a US Government project through what used to be called ARPA, which is now DARPA, the name has changed but it has always been a Defense Department agency.

They're going to intercept your data anyway, some how, some way, you're getting intercepted. Using Debian or an alternative search engine is not going to stop them. Encryption is probably only going to slow them down. Everyone gets Intercepted at one level or another, plus if you're in Japan, you're being intercepted by NSA/CSS, GCSB, or DSD on behalf of the Japanese Public Security Intelligence Agency, or they may be intercepting you themselves, especially if you're there on a Gaijin card, or the new equivalent.

Don't be naive, you're a foreigner and you're in one of the most insular countries in the world, who has a serious security intelligence problem with organizations like Chongryon . All foreigners are suspect, and you can thank their culture, along with North Korea and China for that. I fucking guarantee you they're watching you in some capacity, PSIA are probably intercepting you themselves, and the Five Eyes are intercepting you from NIOC Misawa, as well as wherever the DSD is intercepting you for them as well.

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Gold badge

Everything is justified because

AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Everything is justified because

You made a mistake ... and posted your doubts on El Reg.

Soon killer robots cunningly disguised as japanese schoolgirls will cause an "accident" to happen, which will be covered up by the local face-saving plods (immaculately uniformed btw.)

OH JAPAN, YOU SO CRAZY!

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h3
Bronze badge

Adblock Plus works best on Firefox. (If it worked as well on IE11 I might well use that).

Sooner or later it will be blocked from stock chrome.

Google has started using the same deceptive tactics Facebook uses. So the gmail accounts I do have I never use the web interface on. Only an actual mail client. I very rarely log in to my Google account in a browser at all. My Android tablet has no information about me at all. (I use the Amazon Appstore even though it is not as good I trust them more.)

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@h3 - "Adblock Plus works best on Firefox. (If it worked as well on IE11 I might well use that).

Sooner or later it will be blocked from stock chrome."

======================================================

Google probably has never blocked Adblock from Chrome because it makes so much money through the sale of search rankings. They make money on your search, even if they can't serve you up additional ads.

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Right, so you feel that Google should provide you with email for free? With no recompense to themselves at all? Do you have the same view in a supermarket? You just block out the tills from your vision and walk on out for free?

Basically if you don't like the way Gmail is run, use someone else who obtains their revenue a different way. Don't try and sponge from a service you like but are not willing to pay them the way they ask to be paid.

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"Right, so you feel that Google should provide you with email for free? With no recompense to themselves at all? Do you have the same view in a supermarket? You just block out the tills from your vision and walk on out for free?

Basically if you don't like the way Gmail is run, use someone else who obtains their revenue a different way. Don't try and sponge from a service you like but are not willing to pay them the way they ask to be paid."

I do hope you sit through every one of those advertisements on TV.

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@bigtimehustler

Text ads are fine. Static images are fine. Moving images are...well, I find them annoying enough that I block them most places, but I don't have a strong technical argument for it and I recognise the moral argument against it.

Anything that uses a code base which could execute code on my system is flat out not allowed. No Flash, no Java, no JavaScript. Those are only ever going to be enabled manually by me on a case-by-case basis, such as "I want to watch this specific video."

I'm sorry, but the "moral rights" of advertisers simply don't extend to "opening a security hole on my system through which I could be infected."

I also totally randomise my browser informaiton for each session and tab so their tracking is useless. I'll allow them to display ads to me, but my privacy isn't for sale.

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A main reasom to sponsor FF is not sympathy but having a 3rd decent rendering engine in the market. What would otherwise become sort a dialogue with Apple and MS now is a more open debate which is in Googles interest since it needs open and widely used web standards to market it's web services.

- Just like Chrome is an effort to speed up that process.

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GM

Lean as they come?

How can it *possibly* have spent $157 million on software development? It makes a frigging *browser* for goodness' sake! That's about 700 programmers full time for a year, on good salaries, with some chump change for management. And what the heck did they spend the other half of their income on?

Has the Mozilla Foundation been hijacked. Who audits the accounts?

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Re: Lean as they come?

Rent, utilities, tax, promotional events, public relations, office supplies, IT support... the list can be quite impressive and the costs mount up very fast. It takes more than just salaries to run an organisation.

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@GM

"How can it *possibly* have spent $157 million on software development? It makes a frigging *browser* for goodness' sake!"

Have you any idea how complex a modern consumer market Web browser is? How many lines of standard specifications it has to comply with? How many bugs and security weaknesses are found every year by hundreds of millions of users - plus the whole software security industry?

Why not try running one up yourself in your free time?

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Re: Lean as they come?

The above posters are correct, organizations do not run on salaries alone. There's a lot of little hidden things and shrouded logistics costs that take your money really, really fast. It's where most businesses fall down. They've got a product that's selling and salaries are covered, but nobody budgeted for pest control and rats eat your storage array and there's no money to fix it. That's how things happen in the real world. The weirdness of the universe doesn't stop because you've organized yourself and a few others into an entity known as a business.

That being said, Mozilla could probably reduce expenditures at least 1/3 with no ill effect on their output, just based on what I can see from their financials. The question is why do that? The idea of running a business at maximum financial efficiency is incredibly dumb. If you had the opportunity to build a business where budgets weren't in control you'd be insane not to. It makes incredibly good sense from a morale and productivity standpoint but that's completely beside the point. What else are you going to do with the money?

Grow? If your mission goals are being met continued growth is pointless and expensive. Give the money back? Fuck no, that's stupid too. My vote goes towards making the workplace as fun, exciting and conducive to business as possible. It's how my business is run and it's good stuff. Does everyone really need their own personalized beer mugs for the company lounge? No. But it's pretty cool. Running a business simply to maximize money is pointless and completely defeats the purpose of having all this nifty efficiency around. If I wanted to make good money in a shitty environment I would be a coal miner or a politician. I expect Mozilla feels about the same.

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Facepalm

It's not IE..

>it has no incentive to encourage anyone to use Firefox.

Yes, it does. If you can't force Chrome down their throats, let them eat Firefox instead - the point here is that Firefox ain't IE, which must not be used at all costs.

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Anonymous Coward

What a shame....

...that after spending all that money that FF fro Android is still unusable shit. (Chrome isn't much better)

I love FF on the desktop (hate Chrome), been using FF since before it even was FF, but they just can't seem to get it together on Android.

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