Is Safari a “Cash Cow” for Apple? - Macenstein

Is Safari a “Cash Cow” for Apple?

Posted by Lab Rat

A recent rumor spurred by a posting on the blog of Jason McCabe Calacanis (CEO of Weblogs Inc.) is that the Mozilla Corporation made $72 million last year from distributing its free Firefox browser.


Well, apparently when users search for something in the Google search bar (top right of the browser) and then click on a resulting Google ad, the author claims the Mozilla Corporation pockets somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of the commission. Christopher Blizzard (a board member of the Mozilla Corp.) confirmed that Firefox does indeed take in a good chunk of change via Google, but declined to comment on the exact figure, other than to say the $72 million number was “not correct, though not off by an order of magnitude.� He also pointed out that the profits of the Mozilla Corporation get funneled back into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, and put back into research and development, and other noble goals.

But this got me to wondering, is Apple doing the same thing with its web browser, Safari? Like Firefox, Safari contains a built-in Google search bar. I have never seen mention of Google as a source of income on any of Apple’s financial statements, but that may not mean profits are not generated via Safari toolbar searches. It could simply mean their reporting may simply fall into another category. Earlier this week I wrote to Apple asking about profits its Safari browser may be generating, and I am still holding my breath waiting for a reply. ☺

So, without confirmation one way or the other, I am left to wonder, speculate, and pull some figures out of my arse.

Mr. Blizzard claimed the $72 million was incorrect, but not ridiculously off. In fact, his wording leaves open the possibility that the figure may actually be LOW. So I will use the $72 million as the basis for some quick math (and I went to art school, so feel free to check my work).

In 2005, Firefox made up 9.6% of the browser market. Safari had only 2.1%. Still, using a $72 billion figure being generated by a 9.6% share as a guide, Safari’s 2.1 % should have made Apple $15.75 million in 2005. And unlike Mozilla, Apple is a FOR profit company, so it gets to keep all its Google booty.

Both browsers have seen a slight gain in share recently, so these numbers (and their profits) look to be higher going forward. So, does this mean Safari is a cash cow for Apple? No. But is it a cash “calf�?


2 Responses to “Is Safari a “Cash Cow” for Apple?”
  1. Probably the money just goes towards black mock turtle necks and jeans.

  2. artiom says:

    LOL can’t be that much of a cash cow since hardly any one uses it.

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