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Mozilla revenue climbs 5 percent in final year of Google search deal

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 30, 2015
Expenses up 8 percent even as browser share continues decline.

On the brighter side, contributions to Mozilla in 2014 almost doubled, climbing to $4.2 million for the year.

Overall expenses increased just 8% year-over-year, a far cry from the massive 42% boost in 2013. The difference between that and the 5% increase in revenue, however, meant that Mozilla's "profit" -- it tagged the line as "net cash provided by operating activities" -- fell to $24 million from $36 million the year before.

But Mozilla Foundation's financials remained solid. Cash, cash equivalents and the organization's investments totaled $275 million in 2014, up slightly from the year before. With that much in the bank, Mozilla could survive at its 2014 expense pace for slightly more than 10 months if all income dried up.

Money aside, Mozilla walks an even rockier road this year than in 2013. Its share of the desktop browser market -- which has been Firefox's stronghold -- continued to fall in the last 12 months. During that span, Firefox's user share as measured by analytics vendor Net Applications dropped 2.6 percentage points to 11.3%, representing a 19% decline. (In the 12 months prior to that, Firefox lost 4.8 points, sliding 26%.)

How the persistent decline in Firefox's user share will affect Mozilla's revenue is unknown -- the foundation has never disclosed details of its contracts with search providers, nor said whether they were based on query traffic or flat fees -- but one hint has been the rise and fall of Yahoo's search share since it signed the Mozilla deal.

From the January peak of Yahoo's search traffic in the U.S. -- as tracked by comScore -- the number of queries to yahoo.com has dipped 7%, while Yahoo's share of all U.S. search slipped half a percentage point, or 4%. While that may not have been entirely due to Firefox's lower share, the results must certainly disappoint Yahoo.

Because of Mozilla's financial data release schedule, the true impact of the Yahoo contract won't be evident until next year at this time.

Mozillas search revenue clicmbs

Mozilla's revenue from all its search contracts climbed 6% in 2014, to $291 million.
Data: Mozilla  

 

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