Mozilla Says It Will Be Victimized by U.S. Action Against Google

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Web browsers with 37 Comments

Mozilla relies on Google for most if not all of its revenues, so the firm is predictably worried about the search giant’s antitrust issues.

“Unintended harm to smaller innovators from enforcement actions will be detrimental to the system as a whole, without any meaningful benefit to consumers, and is not how anyone will fix Big Tech,” Mozilla’s Amy Keating explains. “Instead, remedies must look at the ecosystem in its entirety, and allow the flourishing of competition and choice to benefit consumers.”

Keating’s post—an official Mozilla “reaction” to this week’s dramatic antitrust accusation—notes that the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Google references the firms’ financial relationship as an example of Google’s abuses.

“Small and independent companies such as Mozilla thrive by innovating, disrupting[,] and providing users with industry leading features and services in areas like search,” Keating says. “The ultimate outcomes of an antitrust lawsuit should not cause collateral damage to the very organizations—like Mozilla—best positioned to drive competition and protect the interests of consumers on the web.”

This case does put Mozilla in an awkward position. It competes against Google and its role as the gatekeeper to the Internet by providing its own web browser, Firefox. But it also relies on Google for virtually all of its income: Google pays Mozilla over $400 million each year to keep Google Search as the default search engine in Firefox, and the companies recently extended that deal for another five years.

It’s hard not to be reminded of a similar issue that Microsoft faced during its own antitrust case 20 years ago: Microsoft had invested $150 million in Apple in 1997, and that cash injection helped Apple avoid bankruptcy. But Microsoft was really just propping up an erstwhile competitor so that it could claim in court that Windows had competition. Today, Google is doing the same with Mozilla, and it’s just as likely that Mozilla would fail and disappear without these payments.

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