Google and Mozilla Going to Battle over Chrome & FireFox

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Some days ago I read an article on Slashdot that I think deserves to have created more of a splash than it did. Amazing that we didn’t notice earlier when Chrome was released, that this could trigger a change with Mozilla.

The owners of the crazy-successful browser that most web professionals use, has a three-year contract with Google.

Slashdot raises the question: what next for Mozilla? It is a reasonable assumption that Google won’t want to renew the contract

Let’s look at what’s involved here:

  1. Google would not have developed Chrome if they weren’t intending to assume an even larger share of the online search market: the reasons why they’d want their own browser are obvious. They can now monitor even more closely what we’re all doing on the Web.
  2. This looks as if it is going to eventually turn into a showdown between the two browsers: Personally I think the balance will remain as there are two distinct user-groups: one clearly finds Chrome an advantage because of its speed, but the other loves the speed of Chrome but cannot forsake all the delicious addons that now come as standard with FireFox. But even Chrome’s speed is not an absolute: Adam Pash of LifeHacker reported back in September that if you strip the addons from FireFox, there’s no clear winner on speed issues.
  3. For now, FireFox remains the only credible challenger to the universally-hated Internet Explorer.
  4. Mozilla’s FireFox has something of an advantage because it has a dedicated group of followers: some of whom will even stick for ‘old time’s sake.’
  5. There is a growing group of disaffected Google users ( myself included) who will opt for another browser even if Chrome is clearly the more practical option because they are seriously concerned about Google’s present monopoly over all things Web.

There are varying points of view on this. As one comment on the Slashdot article put it:

“The most likely future for Mozilla is a continued partnership with Google. If Google ends its deal with Firefox, Google would be cutting itself off from the only viable challenger to IE. After all, Chrome only recently passed 1% in share of browser use.

Google needs Mozilla to keep putting the bones to Redmond.”

My personal take? I sincerely hope that Google doesn’t renew its contract with Mozilla and that a new contract is forged between Mozilla and a single search engine, or maybe even a group of smaller search engines. I don’t like monopolies: they lead to dangerously powerful institutions and a slip in standards.

We’d love to hear what you think: which will it be ultimately? Chrome or FireFox, and will Google renew its contract with Mozilla?

Patricia Skinner is an SEO consultant, social media coach & reputation management expert. She is also community leader at the nascent SEO Self Regulation Community. She can be reached any time through her SEO website. Why not follow her on Twitter & her LinkedIn profile.

Patricia Skinner
Patricia Skinner is co-founder and Search and Social Director at Mideast SEO, and spends her days doing what she loves best; cooking up winning strategies... Read Full Bio
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  • Vygantas

    So you are saying: Does Google want millions of USD from search?



  • Gidseo

    If Goog didn’t renew with Mozilla then MS might step in!
    I suspect that Chrome is a longer term play, ultimately aimed more at mobile than desktop, so Goog will renew for the time being…

  • Anu Patel

    When it comes to M$, G has always played the game by the rule, “The enemy of my enemy is my ally.”
    I would not be surprised if Chrome and Firefox were merged into one product at some point down the road.

  • Mario

    I don’t like Monopolies either but I feel differently about Google. The danger of monopolies is that the dominant player puts an end to innovation and the user must take whatever they get. Google doesn’t do this, they are always looking for ways to improve their products (with user feedback) even if those products are dominant already (like the Search Engine). Secondly, unlike Microsoft, Google didn’t get where it is today by sly marketing and trickery. People use Google products because they are generally better than the rest and I don’t think they should be punished for doing good work. If anything, the other players should be chastised not putting up a good enough fight. All that said, I think the contract will be renewed because it’s Google’s policy to be open and to share. Countless sites on the web use Google Search, including AOL, who “competes” with Google for advertising revenue. Many businesses use Google Apps and other people are already building their own browsers on the Chromium code. Google embraces all and sundry and Mozilla is no different.

  • Joan Weytze

    The actual article was posted by Business Week (“Mozilla Contemplates a Future Without Google” ). What you’re referring to was a summary of a Business Week article. The summary, not the article, was posted on Slashdot.

  • Patricia Skinner

    Gosh thanks for pointing that out Joan, I missed it completely. Bless you. 🙂

  • Patricia Skinner

    Sincere apologies to Douglas MacMillan by the way, and as I said: I’m surprised that a lot more wasn’t said about this situation: after all it affects so many of us quite fundamentally online.

  • Sam

    How about they don’t renew and Mozilla break into the search engine market on a big scale

    now that would be a turn up i would welcome with open arms!

  • Andrew

    I agree with Mario, how is Google a monopoly? They’re not forcing you to use their products like Microsoft did with IE. I switched to Chrome because I like Speed, with having used Firefox before Chrome was released, it just seems like a slightly faster IE, I’m looking for something different.
    I really love how you bash Google for “being” a monopoly, can’t a company just be successful? People choose to use Google, if you think they are a monopoly then use Yahoo or Live search for searching. I just love it…

  • Patricia Skinner

    The reasons that so many people ‘in the business’ use FireFox are many Andrew: it’s not just a matter of speed. FireFox has a list of addons as long as your arm and they’re useful to a wide range of professionals. People like me love the SEO for FireFox addons: designers have a lot of favorites that help them do all sorts of things. There have been so many blog posts about this very subject. Also, FireFox is great at keeping up: they frequently update their product and do not let the grass grow under their feet if there’s a bug:

    Chrome is wonderfully fast but just can’t compete with FireFox if you want the extended browser functionality because as yet there aren’t any Chrome addons, although I hear they’re planned.

    I’m not bashing Google for being a monopoly but for taking advantage of that situation. They do use the information they collect about us, and recently they admitted to manipulating search results.

  • Jordan Garn

    As much as i’d like to think Google wouldn’t hoard it’s monolopy powers (like Microsoft) the risk is there. I think it’s best to keep the competition up.

  • Mark

    @Gidseo If you’re implying that Mozilla would sign a search deal with MS, this would fall in the *extremely unlikely* category given that such an action would be an affront to the consciences of the vast majority of the Mozilla community and the Mozilla community is intricately interwoven with it’s mission and what it will and won’t do.

  • Ken Saunders

    Will you please correct the spelling of Firefox. It’s very clearly presented as Firefox and not FireFox on, Google search results, Wikipedia and all other major news and media outlets and web sites.
    People are taking quotes from this story and from the headline (from a reputable source SEJ) and posting Firefox as FireFox on their sites. I’m seeing it in my Google Alerts.

    Also, there are many standing in line to take over Google’s spot as the default search engine in Firefox (U.S. versions and others) including one company (that has yet to be named) that has offered a blank check to Mozilla to become Firefox’s default search engine.

  • Hyder Ali

    Well, if google end its contract with mozilla then does all the add ons feature would be end?

    When google launched chrome it is usual that they will use their browser to every extent to be one of the best browser in the world.

  • Hannes

    we´ll see, but firefox got a big community and thats a big advantage. espessialy with the tons of add-ons. and that makes firefox getting a better usability. -> also a heavy viral point.

  • Mr. M Crockett

    As a dedicated Firefox user, I find that with the help of certain add-ons (Adblock plus, noscript etc), it is easy to weed out all the rubbish, which dramatically increases speed as it doesn’t load the bits you don’t want.

    I, for one, will never go back to IE, but, will keep Chrome on here (unused), as a ‘just in case’ browser…

  • RealWat

    I would expect Google to renew with Firefox. Considering current Chrome market penetration, it would be wise to do so. It takes time to gain market share in such a competitive ecosystem. As mentioned in previous comment, Chrome is Google long term investment.

    My $0.02.

  • Eileen Klees

    Have to use IE for Quickbooks online. Also, most vendor sites (nike, tour edge, callawaygolf) only work on IE. Plus, whenever I run into problems with a transaction on a site they usually disappear when I switch to IE, even though I much prefer Firefox. Love Chrome’s speed but it has siezed up twice, many sites don’t work on Chrome and Chrome does not use Google’s toolbar–deal-killer for me.

  • Ram

    I would love MS taking up the Mozilla and I have google for their arrogance. They feel that they are nuts.. i would throw a party if google files bankruptcy– Ram

  • Henrik

    Fine make Yahoo the default browser like it is in Flock. It doesn’t bother me. I will configure the browser as I like it anyway.

  • Henrik

    Oh and the even tie on performance is not true. When we run unit tests in Chrome they are more than twice as fast as a fairly vanilla FF3.