Mozilla’s Renewed Deal with Google Puts Firefox on Steadier Ground

Originally published at: Mozilla’s Renewed Deal with Google Puts Firefox on Steadier Ground - TidBITS

Mozilla recently laid off a quarter of its workforce, but a renewed search deal with Google should keep the browser maker around for at least a few more years.

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Am I too cynic to think that the layoffs were a precondition of the deal signing? I’ve also seen a number of organisations starting to say that they will no longer support Firefox/Gecko because Firefox has been end-of-lined… really concerning for web engine diversity.

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Yes, you are.

Can you give some examples? In what sense do you mean “support?” Do you mean they make websites and won’t check if they have problems working in the Firefox browser?

Firefox has not been “end-of-lined,” renewal of the Google deal is another indication of that.

Shades of Internet Explorer. Older Mac users remember the days when websites only worked with IE and Mac users were literally told to go away. What happens when websites use Chrome for the same purposes?

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I’m glad to be reading too much into this.

However, just two days after the news a SCADA vendor said they were only supporting Blink-based browsers: Chrome, Chromium, Edge, and Vivaldi. They claimed that the news of the layoffs meant Firefox had been end-of-lined. To me, it looks like they want to go back to single-engine support.

So I fully understand Firefox has not been end-of-lined, and even the bankruptcy of Mozilla would not mean that. But at least one organisation is writing a narrative that it has been, and I suspect some other verticals might go that route as well…

Thanks. Sounds like that SCADA vendor also (or already) has written off Safari. It’s kind of scary that SCADA systems are already generally known for poor security, this one not being robust enough to handle more than one browser engine just adds to that.

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This is chump change compared to what Google is paying to be the default for Safari:

Apple has over 50% of the world’s smartphone market share:

58.48% of the tablet market share:

And 13.44% for Macs:

Is it just me or is it a bit hypocritical for Mozilla to champion privacy and then hand over default search engine to Google? I supppose DuckDuckGo’s pockets weren’t deep enough.

IIRC, and I could be wrong, Firefox and Safari have tracking info automatically turned off, but they function differently. Safari goes a step further with a default tracking tool that prevents all cross site tracking. Firefox just blocks trackers from a blacklist, or something like a blacklist. Both browsers make it a lot easier to delete cookies than Chrome, and Safari goes an extra mile with a Block All Cookies checkbox, which I think is a default.

No browser is perfect in blocking the multitude of trackers, but IMHO, among the top three, Safari goes the extra miles. BTW, Google has been furiously researching tracking alternatives to cookies:

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