By John Gruber
Om Malik wonders just how much money Apple gets from Google for search engine referrals from Safari. When I reported last June that Apple’s revenue from Google was around $25 million per year, that number came from, as they say, a source with knowledge of the situation. But it’s not hard to see how that number is easily possible given the Mozilla Foundations’s financial disclosures.
Here’s one way to form a rough estimate. The Mozilla Foundation had revenue of $53 million in 2005 and $67 million in 2006. At that same rate of growth, they’d have $85 million in revenue for 2007. Let’s be conservative, though, and estimate 2007 revenue at $75 million. 85 percent of the Mozilla Foundation’s revenue in 2006 came from Google; let’s assume that remained the same. That’s about $64 million in revenue from Google last year.
Here’s a Wikipedia page with a bunch of different (and, alas, differing) estimates of web browser usage share. Net Applications claims Firefox has 17 percent usage share, Safari a little under 6. If that’s accurate, Safari has one-third the usage share of Firefox, and, presumably, sends at least a corresponding number of search referrals to Google. (Perhaps more, since Firefox’s search field is configurable to use other search engines, and Safari’s is hard-wired to use only Google. On the other hand, Firefox ships with a Google home page.) That works out to around $21 million a year. Other sources, such as TheCounter.com, pin Safari’s usage share at about 20 percent of Firefox’s, which would put Apple’s revenue from Google at around $13 million for 2007.
One might also presume — as I do — that Apple has better negotiators than the Mozilla Foundation,1 and that Google pays Apple more per referral than they do Mozilla. (E.g., Apple may well argue that Safari users, as a whole, are demographically more appealing than Firefox users.)
Where by “better” I mean “Steve Jobs”. ↩