What browser is on your Mac? Safari? Yes. Google’s Chrome? Probably. Safari is the most used Mac browser and Chrome is a distant but dominant second. The third most popular Mac browser– the only major browser that runs on a different platform or engine that Safari and Chrome– is dying.
How so? Mozilla seems to be killing itself. How so?
Remember, we live on a capitalist planet. Everyone is out to get your money. But browsers are free, right? So where’s the money? Most browsers make their money the old fashioned way.
That’s right. Browser makers get a cut from Google if you use the search engine to, well, search online. Those ads you see help pay billions of dollars each year to Apple for keeping Googe the default search engine, and it works that way for Mozilla’s Firefox, too.
So, what’s going on? Gregg Keizer:
Mozilla in trouble? 2018 revenue fell 20%, expenses exceed income for first time
As expected, Mozilla says it’s not that bad and they still have some cash on hand for rainy weather but the rain doesn’t seem ready to stop.
Month-by-month Firefox loses user marketshare to the likes of Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, even to Opera, Vivaldi, and Microsoft’s new Edge browser (based on Google’s Chromium project, which is the engine for Chrome).
Despite the year-over-year change, Mozilla remains in a strong financial position with cash reserves to support continued innovation, partnerships and diversification of the Firefox product lines
Of course. What else would you expect Mozilla to say?
Most of the $451 million in revenue the Mozilla Foundation recognized in 2018 came from royalty payments, with the bulk of that produced by deals struck for Firefox’s default search spot.
That’s big money for a free browser.
What’s interesting about this situation is that Firefox, the main source of Mozilla’s revenue, has become a leader in privacy– which means turning on ad-blockers which means less revenue from users.
That’s akin to shooting yourself in the foot to spite your nose.
Just as worse, Firefox may well be the best browser you can run on a Mac or Windows PC. It’s faster than Safari or Chrome, and has more privacy features built-in.
They say the good die young. I say Firefox is living between a rock and a hard spot.