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While the most interesting thing about Mozilla is most definitely its excellent Firefox browser, it’s also noteworthy that the non-profit makes quite a bit of money. Today, Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker wrote on her blog that the Mozilla Foundation (which owns the subsidiary Mozilla Corporation, created in part to deal with the cash flow) made $52.9 million in revenue in 2005.
Baker said the “bulk” of the money comes from “search engine relationships” like the crucial one Mozilla brokered with Google for default search box placement in the chrome of the Firefox browser.
These are some very profitable arrangements, ones that have opened up a new category of business model now used by browser and plug-in companies, such as Opera. Mozilla spent $8.2 million in 2005, leaving $44.7 million in profit for what Baker calls “a reserve fund.”
Last year speculation ran rampant after the figure $72 million was floated as a yearly revenue estimate for Firefox. (Incidentally, this guesstimate originated with the CEO of Browster, a company we covered today under very different circumstances.) Today’s blog post is the first time Mozilla has publicly addressed the 2005 revenue information in detail.
Previous revenue figures of $2.4 million in 2003 and $5.8 million in 2004 are publicly available (if a little slow to be released) because the foundation is a non-profit. Mozilla has also added them to its own site. Baker did not give estimates for 2006 revenue, though she said it remained “steady.”
See more detail in this cover story I wrote about Mozilla for Red Herring.