The buzz on the street is that Firefox, everyone's favorite underdog, has hit the ropes.
If you haven't seen the obituary yet, it goes something like this:
- Depending on your sources, Chrome is either overtaking Firefox (per Net Applications) or has already overtaken Firefox (per StatCounter) in market share.
- Firefox's chaotic shift to a much faster development cycle and inscrutable -- at one point invisible -- version numbers made a lot of enemies, particularly in IT shops. Its bug-handling slip-ups, exacerbated by the breakneck schedule, alienated even more.
- Mike Shaver, one of the founding members of the Mozilla Organization, later VP of engineering and VP of technical strategy, jumped ship in September to become the engineering director at Facebook.
- Mozilla's contract with Google expired last month, and there doesn't appear to be a new source of income on the horizon. Mozilla hasn't reported how much money it receives from Google, but in 2008 -- the last time Mozilla officially reported the source of its royalty payments -- 88 percent of its royalty revenues came from Google.
- Mozilla hasn't divulged how much money (if any) it made in October's pact with Microsoft to ship a version of Firefox with Bing as the default search engine, but it's unlikely to pick up the slack. More than a few developers have taken umbrage with Firefox linking up with Microsoft.
Where does that leave Firefox?
As reported today in Computerworld, Mozilla isn't saying if it renewed the contract with Google. If it loses that major source of income, Mozilla can draw on the $105 million it has in the bank -- almost enough for a year of operation -- but the financial hit could prove fatal.