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Is Firefox in trouble?

For many years, Mozilla Firefox was the only true contender to Microsoft’s dominance in the browser market.

It offered users something a bit different, and was a new and refreshing take on web browsing. For many Internet Explorer users, Firefox opened their eyes to the possibility that the internet didn’t have to look how Microsoft said.

But Firefox is now on the wane, in danger of disappearing into the browser wilderness to hang-out with the likes of Netscape and Sea Monkey.

For a while, Firefox really looked like going all the way. Its trendy design and alternative interface had users flocking to it in the mid-to-late 2000s. In 2009 its popularity peaked with 32% of the market share.

But as we reported recently, Google Chrome, the new kid on the browser block, has now surpassed Firefox as the second most popular browser.

Chrome now enjoys 25.69% of the market, compared to Firefox’s 25.23%. OK, so Firefox isn’t dead and buried just yet, but the speed at which Chrome is expanding is definitely a cause for concern.

Read more:

Chrome vs IE10 – the battle for the best browser

Furthermore, Firefox’s business model leaves it in a vulnerable situation. Unlike Chrome and IE, Firefox is a not-for-profit web browser, basing it development on a system of software openness.

So how do Mozilla make money? Well, the majority of Firefox’s income is from, you guessed it, Google. The web giant is Firefox’s default search engine, for which Google pays a handsome salary.

This accounts for 84% of Firefox’s income, and Google could pull the plug at any moment. And as the contract between the two comes to an end in the near future, Google may be seriously considering doing so.

For now, it looks unlikely – Google obviously benefit from the deal too. But as Chrome grows and Google continues its expanding dominance across the web, it may start to wonder why it’s funding the competition.