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As Firefox turns 10, Mozilla trumpets privacy

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 11, 2014
Privacy focus seems at odds with Mozilla's biggest revenue source, Google, but contract expires in December.

Mozilla had been a strong proponent of Do Not Track, and in 2013 even said it would take the more drastic step of automatically blocking all third-party cookies. The latter was scuttled after online advertisers accused Mozilla of harboring "techno-libertarians and academic elites who believe in liberty and freedom ... as long as they get to decide the definitions of liberty and freedom." Instead, Mozilla partnered with Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society to create something labeled the "Cookie Clearinghouse," or CCH.

The privacy drumbeat, whether the addition of DuckDuckGo or the wider-ranging Polaris, seems at odds with Mozilla's primary revenue source, Google. In 2012, Mozilla's deal with Google produced $274 million in revenue, or 88% of the organization's total income for the year.

Mozilla's deal with Google will expire before the end of the year: In December 2011, the companies announced a renewal.

"Mozilla is currently in the midst of negotiations," a company spokesman said today, but declined to identify the partner or partners it was negotiating with. "These discussions are subject to traditional confidentiality requirements and as such, we are not at liberty to disclose further details at this time."

Complicating matters for Mozilla is the significant decline of Firefox since the last agreement with Google. According to U.S.-based Net Applications, Firefox's user share has fallen 36% since December 2011; Irish measurement vendor StatCounter, meanwhile, said Firefox's usage share was down 26% during that same period.

Firefox 33.1 for Windows, OS X and Linux can be downloaded from Mozilla's website. Users of the browser will receive the update automatically.


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