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Mozilla has been struggling with monetization for some years now, as their search engine relationship with Google has broken down somewhat. The company has made alternate efforts to raise funds, such as affiliate income from promoting ProtonVPN for example, or sponsored content via Pocket, but according to Mozilla CEO Chris Beard, the company is ready to try something completely new.
In an interview with T3N magazine in Germany, Beard revealed that Mozilla is in the late stages of planning a new subscription service called Firefox Premium.
Firefox Premium would be a bundle of services which may include elements such as online storage and VPN, which would increase user’s safety and privacy on the internet.
We also tested VPN. We can tell if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network and want to do online banking and say, “Wow, you really should use VPN.” You can imagine we’ll offer a solution that gives us all a certain amount of free VPN Bandwidth and then offer a premium level over a monthly subscription. We want to add more subscription services to our mix and focus more on the relationship with the user to become more resilient in business issues.
The service is planned to be launched in October, and as Beard notes, would include a free tier, with users being encouraged to upgrade when this expires. Beards note that users will not be charged for anything which is free now.
It is likely useful for Mozilla to have a funding source separate from Google and ads, and a more direct relationship with their end users, but it seems unlikely that Mozilla would get great adoption for a feature which Opera offers for free for example. Hopefully, Firefox will come up with a somewhat bolder vision tied to their privacy branding which will be somewhat more compelling.
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