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Mozilla is doing just fine

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The Firefox browser once had a tight bond with Google, not so much today. Mozilla is doing just fine without the millions of dollars it once pulled in from Google.

The developer behind the widely used Firefox browser said recently that it no longer relies on Google for its revenue and is confident new search-engine deals will bring in even more money.

For years, Google in effect sponsored Mozilla by paying for Web searches launched through Firefox. In 2014, the deal accounted for most of the nonprofit organization’s $330 million in revenue, according to financial results released for that year.

Mozilla, based in Mountain View, California, ditched the global Google deal at the end of last year, moving instead to regional deals with other search engine companies, notably Yahoo in the United States, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. Now, Mozilla gets no revenue at all from Google, even though Google is still the default search engine for Firefox users in Europe.

For Mozilla, more competition means giving consumers increased choices when they access information and services online. The online world has pushed beyond the PC, expanding to mobile experiences tightly controlled by companies like Apple and Google. A self-reliant Mozilla would help make it harder for those giants to abuse their positions of power by, for example, skewing search results in their own favor or blocking access to content from rivals.

Google and Mozilla often are allies, each seeking to make the Web better for activities like e-commerce, blogging, social networking, news publishing and communication. The tight financial relationship is unusual given how often Google was at odds with Mozilla’s mission to ensure people have choices in their online activities. Google maintains tight control over its Android smartphone software and its many linked services such as Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Music and Google Docs.

Mozilla is holding it’s own financially and expects to keep doing so without Google’s money. Its revenue for 2014, based on a recent tax file, came in at $330 million, up from $314 million in 2013. Mozilla is a nonprofit organization that doesn’t operate like Google, Microsoft and Apple, its biggest competitors in the browser market. Mozilla does however pay attention to keeping the lights on and recruiting talent.

It had about $270 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2014, a $20 million increase from a year earlier. It now employs about 1,000 people worldwide, boosted by the work of more than 10,000 volunteers. Mozilla’s search-related income is based on a combination of fixed payments and revenue that depends on the traffic that Firefox generates.

The Firefox browser has had an OS strategy shift. In the smartphone realm, Mozilla has been trying to combat the dominance of Google’s Android and Apple’s competing iOS with its own mobile operating system, Firefox OS. Mozilla’s strategy had been to spread the software to lower-end phones in developing markets that hadn’t yet undergone the smartphone revolution. However, Chris Beard, who took over as Mozilla’s chief executive in 2014, concluded earlier this year that the plan wasn’t working. The new mobile goal is to spread Firefox OS to enthusiasts.

Now, Android phone users can install a version that runs as an Android app or, for those feeling more experimental; completely replace Android with Firefox OS. That effort also includes a version of Firefox for Android phones and, as of two weeks ago, Firefox for Apple’s iOS. Because of Apple’s rules, though, Firefox for iOS is built with Apple’s browser technology at the core, which means Mozilla can’t use it to advance the Web standards it believes are important.

Mozilla has been saying for years that it is trying to boost its mobile efforts, but it has not had much to show. On smartphones, its share of browser usage is virtually nonexistent. Firefox OS is equally absent among mobile operating systems. Mozilla has helped advance Web technology for mobile devices, though. Even if that doesn’t necessarily directly help Firefox, the tech can aid the Web itself when other browser makers embrace the standards.

Despite challenges, Mozilla remains committed to its core mission. Even if people do not seem to fret about the degree of control Apple and Google exercise over them today, that can change, as it did a decade ago when Firefox showed the world there was a desirable alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Mozilla’s place in the browser world seems a bit complex for now, but it’s persistence is enough to take it far.

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CHARMA GAL DROPS NEW ALBUM

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GOING PLACES:The singer has a new offering

CharmaGal is back with a bang. After a hiatus, following her hit Jabu last year, she has released an all Setswana thriller album just in time for festive.

The local music sensational is back into her stardom feat, the album brings yet another set of tracks in her 8-track album titled Lekgamu la bananyana. Touch Records in Gaborone officially released the album this past week.

During a media brief held at Botswana Craft in Gaborone this past week, CharmaGal revealed that she has been working hard on the album thus having high expectations on it. According to Charma, Lekgamu la bananyana is a notch high than her previous music deliverables.

Speaking to Vibe a day before boarding a plane to the United Kingdom where she was performing alongside South Africa’s BabesWodumo, she said that what makes her unique is staying to her craft. The Mmokolodi hit-maker said that it is giving what you are to the people that then opportunities arise for artists.

“People need to stay true to their uniqueness, this new album represent my style of delivering music, that represents my key and my melody that is why it is easy for people to react to it,” shared CharmaGal.

She also said that piracy is a concern in the music fraternity, adding that she has targets she has set for herself in regards to the number of copies she wants to sell on the album. “New technology remains a mystery for us artists, in a day after the release of the album, people will be she sharing out the music through Whatsapp and other social media networks and that is amazing.”

Meanwhile, a week after the release of the album, track 3, dubbed Banyana, is driving CharmaGal fans crazy. The song has already been played on various radio stations in the country. In the song, CharmaGal says that she does not need to get to work because she has hangover garnered from the weekend. **The album is available at most music stores.

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Shamele drops solo kwaito offering

Irene Shone

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omolemo Thepa aka Shamele says kwaito music has taken out the artiste in him and he plans to elevate the genre as time goes. The 27-year-old recently released his first-ever solo single dubbed, ‘Dula S’tilo’.

He tells Vibe that the new single was actually written to honour the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi as he sat on the presidency throne. He explains that he has been in the music industry for the past six years, featuring other artistes but decided to [produce his solo work this year.

“I have written this song and composed it to dedicate it to Masisi as a way of welcoming him to his new position,” he says.Shamele is confident that having worked with a variety of well-established artistes has given him light and direction to grow the Kwaito genre. Asked why he chose Kwaito of all other genres, he said that Kwaito is unstoppable and just needs nurturing.

“I found Kwaito in existence when I was growing up, and I have never come across any boring rhythm of Kwaito music. It is just unstoppable and thus, I want to be associated to it.”
He also shares with Vibe that local talent kept him motivated to also have a dream of becoming a solo artiste.

“The Real Magosi group inspired me to be where I am today together with all the local artistes in general because I embrace local music.” Shamele further says that he takes pride in the fact that he has already performed his song in the president’s presence recently in Moshupa at an event.

He also appreciates the positive feedback that he already has on his new work. Dula S’tilo currently enjoys airplay at Duma Fm, RB1 and RB2. The single was produced at True-African Studios. Shamele says that at the moment, he is focused on building his brand and give his fans and the local music industry the best.

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