01:05 AM

The Browser That GOOG Built: Firefox Reaches 1 Billion Downloads

Firefox is probably the most successful opensource development. More than one-quarter of a billion people use this browser and there is a thriving community of developers creating add-ons that extend its core capabilities.

Not many people realize that the Mozilla organization behind Firefox gets the majority, more than 90 per cent, of its revenues from Google [GOOG]. Mozilla gets paid to put Google first in its search box. In 2005 its total revenues were $52.9 million, in 2006 revenues rose to $67.8 million, $75 million in 2007. Mozilla has lots of money left over to fund other projects.

But this revenue is in danger. Google now has its own web browser. Also, other web browsers compete for Google's money. Apple gets paid by Google for putting it into its Safari web browser. Industry whispers even say that Apple manages to fund its Mac OS X development from its Google income.

Google paid out $218m in its most recent quarter as part of its traffic acquisition costs to Mozilla and others. With so much money being paid out to organizations it doesn't control, for the development of key technologies, it's no wonder that Google now has its own browser and is working on its own operating system, ChromeOS.

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One Billion Plus You