Last week, Mozilla, in an interview with German media outlet T3N, revealed its plan of launching paid subscription services in Firefox by October. By subscribing to this service, users will be able to access “premium” features like VPN and secure cloud storage.
In the interview, Chris Beard, Mozilla’s CEO did not go much into details about the cost or new premium services and features that we may see in Firefox. However, he did mention two services: VPN and cloud storage. He said, “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.” He further clarified that no costs will be charged for the currently free service.
Mozilla started testing the waters last year by introducing a few paid subscription services. In October, it partnered with ProtonVPN to introduce a paid VPN service. This service was offered to a randomly-selected small group of US users at $10 per month. In February this year, it partnered with Scroll, a news subscription service that allows you to read your favorite news websites by paying a monthly fee.
Now, the company is expanding its catalog to offer more subscription services in Firefox. “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,” said Chris Beard.
Explaining the vision behind this paid offering, Dave Camp, senior vice president of Firefox, said in a statement, “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.”
This news triggered a discussion on Hacker News. Going by the thread, we can say that many users are happy that Mozilla is upfront about this new business model. Several other users also commented about the list of features and services they would want in Firefox before they are convinced enough to pay for the subscription. One of the users commented:
“Can confirm, I would pay for a version of Firefox with just four “features”:
– No Pocket anywhere in the code
– No telemetry/experiments/ Normandy anywhere in the code
– No network connections to third party hosts (other than websites I’m viewing)
– No “discovery” feed / whatever they’re calling the activity stream sponsored content thing now anywhere in the code
Just let me monthly subscribe via Paypal or whatever, and give me a private build server link and tar.gz of the source.”
You can read the entire interview on T3N’s official website.