Firefox: The Last of the Mohicans - Digital

Google's browser Chrome already has a market share of 67 percent and dominates the Web. Mozilla is trying to use Firefox to provide Google's market power. Can this succeed with more security and privacy?

Browsers are the gateway to the net. Who controls it, has power. No wonder that Google puts a lot of energy into the development of its Chrome browser. And the market is on the move: After Microsoft announced at the end of the year that it no longer develops its edge browser, Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari are now the last Mohicans, that is, browsers with noteworthy market share, who do not rely on Chromium like now. This is the browser open source project that is largely controlled by Google.

Mozilla released Firefox Quantum over a year ago. He was to chase away some market share from Chrome. But Mozilla was quite cracked by its standards: The foundation spent $ 253 million on software development in 2017, $ 66 million on marketing. The money flowed mainly in advertising for the newly launched Quantum. The "biggest innovation since Firefox 1.0" - as Mozilla called the update at the time.

With a big litter the charitable foundation wanted to build on old successes again. Reached the browser, which relies on open-source, at its peak just ten years ago, market share of 30 percent worldwide, it was the end of 2017 just twelve to 14 percent. By contrast, Google's Chrome had 60 percent market share. The new Firefox wanted to score above all else with speed and new and improved privacy attitudes and again 20 per cent in the medium term fetch.

Only just under ten percent

According to the latest figures, however, Firefox now only has a market share of almost ten percent. The undisputed leader is Google's Chrome with more than 67 percent market share. In the 1990s, Microsoft had won the so-called browser war with Internet Explorer and pushed its then rival Netscape Navigator off the market, but now the development of the Windows group has become too costly for the Windows group. Why you have beaten in this competition Google.

What does Google's dominance mean on the browser market? Will the web only enforce the standards that Chrome supports? Is this the endangerment of the free and open internet Mozilla is using - also through Microsoft's decision for the quasi-monopolist Google? Nick Nguyen, Vice President of Firefox Product at Mozilla says, "Microsoft has severely limited the ability to shape the future of the Web and its standards."

Mozilla still relies on Google's money

But this is apparently no longer so important to the Microsoft Corporation. Overall, the tech industry is seeing a consolidation trend, Nguyen notes. Amazon now accounts for 50 percent of all ecommerce spending, and Netflix has most people as customers watching videos on demand over the Internet. And Google comes to 92 percent market share in the Internet search.

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The EU is concerned about this accumulation of market power. The European Commission imposed a fine of 4.3 billion euros on Google last summer. The reason: He should have misused his market power with his Android operating system. This concern is shared by Mozilla, says Nguyen: "If a single company controls a basic online structure, it seriously jeopardizes the social and social power of the individual.

Nguyen does not have demands on the EU, but he also says, "We at Mozilla believe that users should have a choice, and that this only brings benefits, because the well-being of the Internet depends on competition and choice."

Defending the open web is the ultimate goal of Mozilla. Last year, the Foundation has released several new Firefox security and privacy tools. For example, "Container" is an add-on program intended to protect Facebook users from data misuse. The add-on "Canvas Blocker" is intended to prevent the identification of the user using digital fingerprints. And these extensions are also well received by users, says Nguyen. Containers, for example, have already been downloaded 1.5 million times. These successful blocking and anti-tracking technologies are also responsible for Mozilla's browser performing poorly on services that measure market share. Anyone surfing in private mode or using special extensions will not be covered by the market researchers. According to own measurements, the desktop has 278 million users worldwide.

On Google but Mozilla can not do without. The search engine window for Firefox is at least in Germany by default played by the major competitor. And there is money for that. While users can easily change this preference, many do not, because they do not know how to do it. Overall, the current annual report on search engine partnership revenue is $ 542 million.

But Mozilla wants to look for new sources of money. In October, the foundation launched an attempt to provide selected Firefox users with a secure surfing service in public Wlans for $ 10 a month. In addition, the Foundation is also working on a new version of Firefox for Android phones. The browser called Fenix ​​is ​​said to make good on cell phones.

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