Mozilla just launched a special customized edition of Firefox for fans of Microsoft’s MSN portal. Firefox with MSN comes with MSN as the default homepage and automatically opens msnNOW, the memetracker-like version of MSN, as a Firefox app tab. And of course, this edition offers an MSN theme and uses Bing as the default search engine instead of Google, which is the standard for regular Firefox releases.
While this may seem like an unusual move, Mozilla actually offers about 20 different custom editions that are being distributed by a wide range of partners, including Twitter, Yahoo, Yandex and TechCrunch parent company AOL. Just a bit more than a year ago, Mozilla also partnered with Microsoft for a custom edition for its Bing search engine and Bing became a built-in search engine option in Firefox 4 just about two years ago.
I’m not sure who actually uses any of these custom editions (I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody use one of these in the wild), but there must be a market for them. Firefox gets a kickback from Google, Microsoft, and other partners through the search revenue its users generate through the default search in the browser; maybe it generates a bit more revenue from these custom editions, too.
To me, the more interesting use of custom editions, however, is the Firefox Back To School edition that comes with bundled add-ons like Zotero for citation management and the Evernote Web Clipper.