How do browsers make money?

Tram Ho

There are many browsers available today, but the names that stand out and dominate the market are counted on the fingers. Mozilla Firefox , Google Chrome , Microsoft Edge , Opera and Apple Safari , among other names besides Safari exclusive to Apple devices, the rest of the browsers are free and downloadable for easy use by users. .

The browser is basically like a window for users to access the internet, so why is such an important software freely released by companies ? They are simply free, but they still make money, generating revenue for developers.

The first thing we think of, “advertising money”, is just a part. What is left? Let’s find out a bit.

Mozilla Firefox

We all know the owner of the Firefox browser, the Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization. But they are not really profitable, looking at the financial statements revealed here, we can see the company earned 562 million USD in 2017. 96% of this number, about 539 million USD is through something called copyright search engines (search engine royalties).


Mozilla has signed an agreement with Google to make Google search the default search engine on Firefox Quantum. While we don’t know the exact amount of revenue sharing between them, this deal is definitely important for Mozilla.

It looks like Google is gaining the upper hand in this deal because they have Google Chrome browser overwhelming Firefox in market share, so they probably won’t renew the new deal in November 2020. But Firefox users search the web more than 100 billion times a year, which ensures the ability to keep Google searching with Firefox even though Google may not want it.

However, that does not prevent Google “playing tricks” with Firefox users, because obviously both are still competing in the same market. Typically, a few users reported that the Google Flights website was blocked on Firefox for Android.

To be fair, Mozilla is not a medium, in markets where Google search is not popular, they partner with local search engines like Yandex in Russia and Yahoo in China to earn revenue. They are also trying to diversify their revenue stream with the Firefox Pocket service, user-focused ads and even ad sales.


Similar to the Firefox model, Safari also makes money from search engine copyrights, especially from Google. But in Safari’s case, this royalty rate is on a different level from Firefox, about $ 12 billion in the most recent deal revealed by Fortune. With hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad and Mac users, Apple will continue to have sweet deals with Google for many more years, so Safari can be said to be the second richest browser in the world after Chrome.


Microsoft Edge

Similar to the Google Adsword keyword advertising service, Edge’s main revenue comes from the Bing search engine. However, with only about 4% of Bing’s market share, it’s hard for Edge to catch up to Chrome in terms of making money. In addition, advertising revenue from Bing dropped 7% in the fourth quarter of 2018, meaning that revenue from Edge is still very stagnant.


Hope to beat Google is almost impossible, but Microsoft still does not give up by paying users for gifts and vouchers when using Bing and Edge.



This is a modest browser in terms of accessibility, but when it comes to making use of the browser to make money, Opera is not weak. With 182 million active users globally, Opera is witnessing an annual revenue growth of between 28 and 34%. While still using the revenue sharing model with search engines like Yandex in Russia, Baidu in China, Google elsewhere, Opera has some other unique ways to make money.

Opera has licensing agreements with sites like and Ebay to encourage users to use these services. There are also deals with smartphone companies like Oppo and Xiaomi to use Opera as the main browser on their phones. They are also venturing into investing in AI-based content discovery technologies to attract more users.



Brave browser focuses on privacy, safety and speed. With an integrated ad blocker plus a policy of not saving user history, it makes it a great browser to use.

But Brave must also make money. However, unlike other browsers, Brave uses cryptocurrencies, which they call Basic Notification Tokens ( Basic Attention Tokens ). As with the Microsoft rewards reward, users will receive BAT when they use the services that Brave links.


They also partner with HTC to use the HTC Exodus, the world’s first blockchain phone. In addition, Brave works with certified publishers on YouTube and Twitch as a secondary revenue source.

Google Chrome

Chrome should not be on this list because it is completely at a different level from the above names in terms of monetization. With the advantage of being the offspring of the world’s leading advertising company, accounting for the largest market share in the browser market, Chrome is quickly a means for Google to effectively earn advertising revenue.

Because the ad revenue is so huge, Chrome does not need to apply other ways like the above browsers to earn more revenue.


These are the ways in which popular browsers now generate revenue, each with a different monetization strategy and different ways. This contributes to help them maintain their existence, creating diversity for the browser market.

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Source : Techtalk