Mozilla CEO Announces Premium Version of Firefox Available in the Fall

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Some things are just expected to be free, and that includes browsers. Whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Vivaldi, etc., it’s free. In addition to the price, we expect those browsers to have certain features.

Mozilla is challenging those expectations. The CEO announced the arrival of a premium version of Firefox. Yes, that means you’ll have to pay for it, to get features that you may already be expecting in a free version.

Premium Version of Firefox

Chris Beard, the CEO of Mozilla, mentioned in an interview with t3n that a premium version of Firefox will arrive in the fall.

The obvious question is how will the premium version differ from the free version? What will make it worth it to pay for something that traditionally has been free?

The premium version of Firefox could offer VPN and cloud storage, but it’s unclear how certain these are as features. Beard offered a situation the premium Firefox could help with. He suggested a user wanting to do online banking while using public Wi-Fi. Using the premium Firefox, the regular version of Facebook would provide a “certain amount of free VPN bandwidth and then offer a premium level over a monthly subscription.”

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The CEO made it clear that anyone who currently enjoys Firefox needn’t worry about suddenly being charged for what has historically been free. All those features will still be free.

This is an idea that Mozilla has been toying with. Last year they partnered with ProtonVPN and offered a small, random group of Firefox users in the United States a subscription for $10 a month. Mozilla suggested at the time they were “explor[ing] new, additional sources of revenue that align with [its] mission.” It seems clear if they were “exploring” then, that it was something they were interested in doing.

Senior vice president of Firefox, Dave Camp, offered more about the premium Firefox in a statement: “We were founded on the belief that the Internet should be open and accessible to all. A high-performing, free, and private-by-default Firefox browser will continue to be central to our core service offerings.

“We also recognize that there are consumers who want access to premium offerings, and we can serve those users, too, without compromising the development and reach of the existing products and services that Firefox users know and love.”

Will this Start a New Trend?

This begs the question if this is going to start a new trend. Browsers are always free. But will they now start to charge as well any time they add a feature? Will they all follow Mozilla’s model?

It seems like a slippery slope we’re heading toward. Do you see it the same way? Would you pay for a browser with better options? Or do you think browsers should just always be free regardless? Add your thoughts in the comments below and let us know what you think about Mozilla’s plans to charge for the Firefox browser.

10 comments

  1. Actually, it *raises* the question. Begging the question is something different entirely.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I researched it after I read your comment to make sure I said what I wanted to, and I did.

      “beg the question
      phrase of beg
      1.
      (of a fact or action) raise a question or point that has not been dealt with; invite an obvious question.
      2.
      assume the truth of an argument or proposition to be proved, without arguing it.”

      I believe I was “inviting an obvious question.” But thank you again for your comment.

      1. Definition 2 is the correct one, at least historically. I suppose definition 1 has become so commonplace that it’s been accepted in some dictionaries. You can see a nice long history here

        https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/beg-the-question

        1. Thanks for the history. Regardless of the history of the definition of the phrase, the one I posted in my earlier comment was from an online dictionary. It is not incorrect.

          That said, I know where you’re coming from. There are so many things that are accepted in online text that at one time was not, and that includes major news sources like CNN and Washington Post. It makes me cringe to see these sources write terms like “gonna” and abbreviate to “OK” instead of spelling the words out.

          However, in my 55 years, regardless of the history, I have always understood my use of the phrase “begs the question” to be an accepted colloquialism, and the dictinary backs that up.

          1. I agree that language is changing. I personally think it’s unfortunate when language is misused to the point where meanings of words change. I would be careful about using “an online dictionary” as a credible source, but I agree that most (myself included) would understand exactly what you meant. Given that the purpose of language is to convey meaning, I can’t really say it’s wrong :)

        2. Don’t be a pedant.
          English is a dynamic, constantly changing language. What was proper and acceptable just a few years ago, may no longer be so. Words and expressions that no self-respecting person would have used not too long ago, have been ensconced in the Oxford English Dictionary and, thus, given legitimacy.

  2. “He suggested a user wanting to do online banking while using public Wi-Fi.”
    That assumes that current FF users do online banking with no protection whatsoever.

    “The CEO made it clear that anyone who currently enjoys Firefox needn’t worry about suddenly being charged for what has historically been free.”
    Until corporate policy changes and Mozilla decides it can make more money by transferring the more desirable features from free version to the “premium” version, emasculating the free version to the point of unusability. Or, as has happened when Quantum was implemented, a significant number of useful extension were made incompatible with Quantum.

    “Mozilla suggested at the time they were “explor[ing] new, additional sources of revenue that align with [its] mission.””
    And that is the bottom-line reason for a premium version – the corporate desire to maximize revenue and profits.

    “Will they all follow Mozilla’s model?”
    If Mozilla makes money, all popular browsers will offer “premium” versions.

    “It seems like a slippery slope we’re heading toward.”
    It seems more like a black diamond-type ski slope.

    “Would you pay for a browser with better options?”
    It depends on what those “better” options are and how much “better” they are.
    Mozilla could offer a TOR-like browser but, then, we already have the TOR browser and it is free.
    Mozilla could offer a low cost VPN But with all the entanglements Mozilla has with Google, I don’t know how effective a Mozilla-provided VPN would be.
    Mozilla could offer ad-free browsing but won’t because that would reduce the revenue and profits.

    “do you think browsers should just always be free regardless?”
    I have become used to free browsers and other free applications. However, the writing is on the wall. If Mozilla has even a little financial success with FF Premium, others, lemming-like, will follow. We are heading back to the days of late 1980s and 1990s when computer users had to pay for anything and everything.

  3. If ffox can figure out a way for me to dump my local internet provider, THEN I’d be interested!

  4. This is a bad idea but if it becomes profitable, I am sure that the other corporate lemmings will chase them down that path to sell their souls for the glowing gold coin.

  5. I agree with Mark, the almighty $$$$ will take all of us for a new ride.

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