Search deals generate 97% of Mozilla's income

Revenues for Firefox maker climbed 34% in 2009

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In the last 12 months, Firefox lost 1.25 percentage points, as measured by Web metrics firm Net Applications, a drop of 5% from the browser's October 2009 share. Meanwhile, Chrome gained 4.9 points in the same period, more than doubling its usage share.

Chrome still trails Firefox by a wide margin, however. Last month, Chrome accounted for 8.5% of all browsers used worldwide, while Firefox controlled a 22.8% share.

Elsewhere on the Mozilla site, the organization called its relationship with Google "healthy" and said it does not "vet our initiatives" with the search giant.

"To date, we have renewed our contract three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008," stated an accompanying FAQ. "The current version extends through 2011. We believe that search providers will remain a solid generator of revenue for Mozilla for the foreseeable future."

Mozilla spent $40.2 million on software development last year, up 29% from the year before. Two-thirds of the organization's expenses were tagged as software development.

Baker acknowledged that Mozilla faces an uphill battle against much bigger competitors like Google and Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer remains the most popular browser by far.

"It's a big challenge to build our values into layers of the Internet where the commercial giants of our age are battling it out," Baker said.

Baker and Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and currently the CTO of Mozilla, were the highest-paid executives in the organization. Each received $494,000 in compensation, bonuses and benefits in 2009.

Baker also pointed out that Mozilla still faces an audit from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that was opened last year. "We do not yet have a good feel for how long this process will take or the overall scope of what will be involved," she said.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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