View Full Version : Can browsers make bucks?

10-05-2008, 03:41 PM
Rory Cellan-Jones - 8 May 2008 - BBC dot.life

What's the most valuable piece of web software you use every day? Your web browser, surely. So whoever makes the browser which dominates the market should also make riches beyond the dreams of avarice — shouldn't they?

June sees the final release of Firefox 3, the latest version of the open-source browser, and Mozilla Europe's President Tristan Nitot popped into our office the other day to show off some of the features.

Most of the thousands of changes are hidden so far beneath the bonnet that users won't notice them - except perhaps for a welcome increase in speed - but there is one impressive new feature.

The engineers who collaborate to build Firefox call it the “awesome bar” and it certainly grabbed my attention. The address window at the top of the browser now functions as a search engine for your previous web activity. So, for instance, I type in ‘Yahoo shares’ and it takes me to all those recent pages I've visited showing Yahoo's current share price and discussing the company's future.

The Mozilla foundation is a not-for-profit organisation but on top of the thousands of volunteer coders around the world it does now have 160 employees, and they have to be paid. So where is the cash coming from? Tristan Nitot explained that originally it was T-shirts that were the main revenue earner - Mozilla has an online shop selling Firefox-badged products - but now it's found a more substantial source of income.

That search box in the top right hand corner of the browser generates a big chunk of revenue - almost all of it from Google, which is the default search engine.

More here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2008/05/firefox_can_browsers_make_buck.html). (Watch the video too.)