Google wants to be your Web browser, not just your search engine, which is why it unveiled Chrome last fall, a rival to Firefox. Now we hear Google's ready to hit Firefox in the pocketbook.
Even as Google launched its own browser, it's continued to funnel millions of dollars to Mozilla, the nonprofit maker of Firefox. Almost 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues — last reported at $75 million in 2007 — have come from a search-referral deal in which Google pays Mozilla when Firefox users perform searches in the browser's toolbar. Shortly before Google launched Chrome, Mozilla and Google renewed the deal through 2011.
But a Google-eyed tipster tells us that Google is looking for ways to cut its support of Mozilla sharply. This has top Mozilla engineers spooked, and several of them have popped by the Googleplex to interview for jobs there.
It makes sense that Google would want to support its own Chrome Web browser. And yet bullying a nonprofit would seem to clash with Google's "don't be evil" motto. Perhaps "don't lose money" has become more important.