back to article Firefox millions - only 12 per cent Google free

In 2007, the Mozilla Foundation received 88 per cent of its revenue from a certain Mountain View sugar daddy. And thanks to its longstanding Google dependence, the organization is facing an IRS audit and questions over its tax exempt status. Today, the non-profit behind the open-source Firefox browser released its long-delayed …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    Wrong outfit being investigated by IRS?

    "You'll notice that Mozilla slaps a Google search box onto the Firefox toolbar and default home page."

    Pardon me while I check all the installs I've done that I still have access to ... Nope. Nothing defaults to google.

    If I couldn't customize Mozilla, I'd have issues. As things are, if Google wants to waste money on a product that they don't control, and that my end users find useful, I say let them.

    If anything, I'd be investigating Google for writing off the "donation" ...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dissemination of browser...

    Google's first product placement programmes were for adwords and firefox. In fact, firefox had this long before the program went external. It was just an extra adwords block of code which any website owner could add to their pages. I had it added to my personal website at the the time. Never got any money from it as it required full conversion. However it still served as fairly powerful free advert for firefox.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Not just Google

    The search box defaults to Google but (currently) lists a total of eight possible search engines in the drop-down list.

    You can easily remove it from the toolbar - right click on the toolbar, select "Customise..." , then drag it off the toolbar. It's not difficult.

    I don't use the search box, although admittedly my home page is set to Google.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home Page

    = Google

    Its not rocket science, your starting point is your most useful page.

  5. ein mahl
    Thumb Up

    the firefox safebrowsing conspiracy?

    Safe Browsing - heard of it?

    Sounds like a good thing. Only problem with it is that it's enabled by default and there is no easy way for the ordinary user to disable it in FF. They don't even know it's there.

    Why you ask, would you want to disable such a obviously useful feature?

    Well, guess who vets your FF requests and decides whether something is safe or not? And snags your precious IP at the same time.

    Yes - the guys that do no evil.

    Can an organization claim "not for profit" status when their CEO supposedly makes $500k per annum? Feels like an oxymoronish sort of a concept to me.

    The safe browsing feature is forced on most FF users. Is it there for the user's benefit or for the guys that are throwing all that cash at Mozilla?

    Until safe browsing is a standard option with a choice of sources other than google I suggest a healthy dose of skepticism.

    Anyone who claims to do no evil but isn't wearing a dog collar, is talking about that other brand of evil, the one that is by definition any thing that they haven't thought of yet.

    Firefox is a great browser, but it has imo been compromised by all that money and can no longer claim any objective independence.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    homepage

    My homepage is set to Google, just as it has been since 2001, when I discovered it was ten times better than any other search engine, and loaded in a hundredth of the time.

  7. blackworx
    Thumb Down

    Talk about missing the point

    Just because you can change the defaults doesn't mean Firefox is not a huge tax-free traffic generator for Google, nor that an investigation into the foundation's tax-exempt status for those years is without warrant.

  8. Matt
    Happy

    Maybe...

    ... Google just hate ie like the rest of us :)

  9. Iain
    Go

    So far, don't care

    Yup, for all its evil world domination Google is still the best of the bunch (ha ha Live Search ha ha), so no probs there.

    And it's not my money FF is making. I never even click on adverts, so I don't really have a problem, especially if it keeps FF free. (I wouldn't pay for FF, it's not that good, but then what is?)

  10. Kerberos

    Churches

    Shouldn't they be looking at the various US churches, that also have tax exempt status but still meddle in politics and make huge wodges of cash for their owners, and have been doing so for a damn sight longer than Firefox?

    At least Firefox gives us a useful browser, rather than information from an invisible man in the sky.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Jake

    It's been a while since I've done one but I think you'll find that on a virgin Firefox installation that not only is Google the default search engine for both the search box and the address bar but Firefox also heads straight off to a Google hosted "welcome" page that immediately sets a Google cookie. Remember, a Google cookie is for life, not just for Xmas.

  12. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up

    What Google search?

    http://home.clara.net/lesmcdm/images/elregs.png

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's google, it's google

    It's been the case since I started using Firefox that Google (or the Firefox specific version of) that appears as the home page. Never much of a problem as I'd set it to my homepage anyway.

  14. Paul M.

    The Googletards are out

    How dumb can Reg readers be? Just write an article about Google and we soon find out:

    "Google is still the best of the bunch (ha ha Live Search ha ha), so no probs there."

    That's not the point.

    "At least Firefox gives us a useful browser"

    That's not the point either.

    blackworx has it right. Crooked accounting practices are NOT ok, just because Google funds them, or a Freetard browser rolls out the back door of the factory. Some people seem to be bought off pretty cheaply.

  15. RW
    Linux

    With or without, it would happen anyway

    I've been a Firefoxer for over a year, and only when I read this article did I pay the slightest attention to the search engine drop down. I'd long since manually added Google to my tool bar anyway, as I expect most people have.

  16. Chris C

    @ein mahl

    "Can an organization claim "not for profit" status when their CEO supposedly makes $500k per annum? Feels like an oxymoronish sort of a concept to me."

    There are some "not for profit" organizations out there where the CEO makes millions per year. Why do you think the organization is let with zero profit? But I do agree with your point. If my opinion, a "not for profit" organization should have reasonable salaries for all employees, even the CEO.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Journalists are supposed to have good reading comprehension skills

    ... but you either fail, or you're just deliberately misunderstanding on purpose to try and spin your story. You wrote:

    > saying that an arrangement with "a search provider...facilitates the dissemination of the Foundation's browser, thereby increasing the accessibility of the internet."

    >

    > We're not quite sure how a search box facilitates the dissemination of a browser.

    Well, I'm not quite sure who you're referring to as "we" unless you've got a mouse in your pocket, but the bigger question is how you could fail to comprehend that perfectly clear statement from the Mozilla foundation. Let me spell it out for you, in nice easy steps:

    - You ask how a search box can facilitate the dissemination of a browser.

    - This implies that you believe the MF's statement to be a claim that the search box facilitates dissemination of their browser.

    - Thus you fail English Literacy 101, because the MF's statement clearly says that it is /the arrangement/ with the search provider that facilitates their distribution.

    - The arrangement is not the search box. Conflating the one with the other is a category error.

    As you cannot actually be illiterate, you must in fact be deliberately twisting the meaning of their words in order to put up an Aunt Sally that you can then throw coconuts at. Well, you're busted. Your attack is specious and intellectually dishonest. Quite sad and pathetic really. You must have utter contempt for the intelligence of your readers if you think you can baffle us with long words like that. Believe me, the feeling is mutual.

  18. Mr Blonde

    Weasel Words or what...

    >>>saying that an arrangement with "a search provider...facilitates the dissemination of the Foundation's browser, thereby increasing the accessibility of the internet."<<<

    Translation required...

    Is using a commercial outfits money taxable if your revenue stream is extremely dependent on that entity?

    >>>"If it doesn't pass the test, the Foundation says, it will become a private charity, coughing up about $100,000 in taxes."<<<

    Is this how an organisation that develops a flagship application on the open-source front line should behave? Where is the ethical leadership?

  19. Jodo Kast
    Alert

    Apologists

    And in come the apologists!

    AKA Firefox fanboiz and Google fanboiz.

  20. James
    Gates Horns

    Stamping out IE = bargain at any price

    If I ran a multi-billion dollar web-based company I'd be quite happy to donate a few million to cut into IE's market share - stamping out that braindead abomination's botched attempt at rendering web pages is enough of a public service they should qualify for charitable status anyway.

    (Of course, I may be slighly embittered by the hours spent over the last week or two tweaking minutiae of a web page which rendered perfectly well in more than four dozen sane browsers in an attempt to pander to the minority which still insists on polluting the Net with IE6 - but then, who hasn't been through that?)

  21. jake Silver badge

    @AC

    "It's been a while since I've done one"

    Ok. You're an expert. Obviously.

    "but I think you'll find that on a virgin Firefox installation that not only is Google the default search engine for both the search box and the address bar but Firefox also heads straight off to a Google hosted "welcome" page that immediately sets a Google cookie."

    Did you even read what I wrote? My standard installs do not default to google.

    "Remember, a Google cookie is for life, not just for Xmas."

    You are deluded. Good thing you're an AC ... it won't come back to bite you.

  22. Lou Gosselin

    Re: Not just Google

    But...It IS just google.

    "You can easily remove it from the toolbar - right click on the toolbar, select "Customise..." , then drag it off the toolbar. It's not difficult."

    "Pardon me while I check all the installs I've done that I still have access to ... Nope. Nothing defaults to google."

    Unless these two posters have recompiled FF, they will find that it's not possible to remove google entirely since google has itself hard coded in the application.

    The user can change their default home page, and change the search engine, and even replace all instances of "google" inside of about:config. The browser will still jump to google's site if the user types a sentence in the url bar.

  23. jake Silver badge

    @Lou Gosselin

    > Unless these two posters have recompiled FF

    Yes, I have. None of my clients are forced to use google. Your point was ... ?

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