Google and Firefox break up as deal ends, could Microsoft fill in the shoes?

Google and Firefox break up as deal ends, could Microsoft fill in the shoes?

The two open-source advocates appear to be breaking up. Google and Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, appear to have ended their deal, despite coming up for renewal in November, and speculation has emerged that Microsoft could target Mozilla for a new deal.

The breakup was noted by ZDNet’s Ed Bott, who notes Firefox’s turbulent history this year. Google happens to provide, according to Bott sourcing its annual report, at least 85% of its annual revenue:

The Corporation has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties which expires November 2011. Approximately 84% and 86% of royalty revenue for 2010 and 2009, respectively, was derived from this contract.

The contract expired last month, and it appears that the deal will most likely not be renewed as Google focuses on developing Chrome. In fact, Chrome is now the world’s second-most used browser in the world, according to StatCounter. This would mean that Firefox will have a big hole in its budget next year – and many have speculated that without this deal, Mozilla will most likely be gone.

And I bet every Chrome fanboy is cheering inside with that prospect.

However, MG Siegler argues Microsoft could fill in the shoes of Google. The two recently partnered with each other in order to release Firefox for Bing – heavily customised for the world’s no.2 search engine – – and a deal with Firefox could also save Bing.

He argues, “because Firefox has a huge user base, this is something that Microsoft would have to consider. Such a deal could potentially finally turn Bing from a multi-billion dollar suck hole into an actual business.”

To be fair, the reason people are turning to Chrome because of its speed and Firefox still has, well, a problem in how it uses memory (they’re improving it, but it still needs work). And for those who don’t want to admit it, the truth is that Chrome has also started to get a bit bloated – not as far as Firefox or Internet Explorer, but performance-wise, it isn’t the same as it once was.

I know I’m repeating the same crap as my colleagues and other people on the web, but I’ll miss Firefox. Not because I am such a super hardcore Firefox fanboy, but because it proved to be one of the great challengers to a once-dominant brand. As well, from a developer standpoint, it brought Microsoft into complying with web standards (and that is why you see there is some consistency of the sites between IE9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera rather than sites asking you to use IE6 for “optimisation”).

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