Mozilla makes free software, plenty of money

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mozilla For a company that makes its living by producing open source software, Mozilla’s doing quite well for itself. It brought in almost $67 million in 2006, up 26% from the year before.

It spent just under $20 million, mostly on its 90-some employees (full and part time) around the world and the necessary infrastructure required to support things like serving up "close to 600,000 Firefox downloads, over 2.1 terabytes of data and 25 million update requests" each day.

About 85% of Mozilla’s revenue for 2006 comes from its partnership with Google, most notably the default Google/Firefox start page and Mozilla ad campaigns offered through Google’s Adwords program. That partnership ends about a year from now, although Mozilla doesn’t seem too worried.

"We have a range of options. We may continue to work with Google which has so far provided a good fit with what our users find useful in the product. If for some reason that doesn’t make sense then we could look at other potential partners. We have significant retained earnings, which allows us a good degree of flexibility."

This should be a testament to the power of software that’s created by users, for users. Sure, $67 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what many software companies bring in each year (Microsoft did $44.3 billion last year) but it’s pretty impressive considering Mozilla’s business model and the fact that there are fewer than 100 employees working there.

Beyond Sustainability [mitchell's blog] via CNET News.com

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