Ever notice how your newly installed Firefox browser would always default to the Google search site? That’s because of a lucrative deal Mozilla, owner of the Firefox brand, cut with Google back in 2006, in the pre-Chrome days. Well, the world has shifted since then and with the November expiration of the Google deal, Mozilla could stand to lose up to 80% of company revenue according to Computerworld. And while the deal has reaped a windfall for Mozilla, it also gave Google time to develop what is now a rising star in the quest for King of the Browser Hill.  

By the Numbers: Top Browser Marketshare

Truth be told, neither Mozilla's Firefox nor Google's Chrome are even close to the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  Recent numbers from netmarketshare.com place the Microsoft web browser with market share hovering at just under half of the entire market (48.95%).  That's a full 30 points above the also-rans in the pack.  

Source: netmarketshare.com December 06, 2011

But the relevant point to the no-new-deal is the growth in Chrome market share to almost parity with rival Firefox.  This year alone, Google's browser has grown from 10.7% in January to almost 17% (16.90%) of the market in the 11-month span.  By far the fastest-growing browser, with market share being taken away from...Yep, IE Explorer, down by that same 7 point (Google) gain since January, 2011. 

And now that Google is just shy of the Firefox 20.58% market share, the company may be asking itself why it should want to continue feeding its rival.

Enter Bing

One other twist, back in October, just prior to the November expiration of the Google deal, a Firefox with Bing "enhanced version" was announced together with a new download site firefoxwithbing.com that includes default search settings for Bing. "Now Firefox users who are Bing enthusiasts can use Firefox with Bing to use the Web the way they want without having to take extra steps to navigate or customize their settings to Bing," the blog announcement states. 

The new Firefox with Bing offers a query bar for both Web queries and straight addresses (much like Chrome). If you already have the latest version of Firefox, then just download the Bing Search for Firefox Add-on to set the same preferences.

Officially, Firefox is not saying much on any new Google deal: "Our search relationship with Google remains positive for both of us. We are in active negotiations and have nothing further to announce at this time.  We have every confidence that search partnerships will continue to be a strong and growing generator of revenue for the foreseeable future.”