Mozilla apparently plan to launch a ‘premium’ version of the Firefox web browser later this year.

The free version of Firefox will stay just that: free

Mozilla CEO, Chris Beard, revealed the (rather unexpected) plans in conversation with German media outlet T3N, though stressed that the ‘free’ version of Firefox will remain just that: free.

Wondering what a paid-for version of a hugely popular free web browser might include? Us too. But based on Beard’s interview we have a clue. It sounds Mozilla will make privacy and security features key to its ‘service’ offering.

Mozilla already partner with a VPN company so an extension of that deal, integrated into the browser directly, wouldn’t be a shock move.

Beard provides an example scenario (paraphrased by me):

“You can imagine we’ll offer a solution that gives [everyone] a certain amount of free VPN bandwidth and then offer a premium level [for] a monthly subscription,” he says.

Interesting stuff.

Would you pay for Firefox Premium?

Firefox with header bar enabled on Ubuntu Linux
It’s the browser most of us use

Right now there’s no word on any sort of pricing for whatever kind of subscription-based effort this all turns out to be.

However, Beard suggests there will be a “premium level”, which, if we read between the lines, hints at non-premium levels, too.

“Firefox Basic” anyone?

If so, Mozilla run the risk of turning the ‘free’ version of Firefox into a half-hearted promotional showcase; a ‘freemium’ build peppered with features you have to pony up real cash to use properly. A trial version, essentially.

But it is perhaps necessary.

Mozilla remains hugely reliant on search partnerships for its revenue, with around 90% of its income said to come from deals with Google, Yahoo and Baidu, Amazon, etc.

Clearly keen to diversify — never keep all your eyes in one basket — offering premium services that integrate with its best-known product could be one way for Mozilla to branch out, plant some extra roots, and connect more directly with its users.

Few Details (For Now)

When asked for more details on ‘Firefox Premium’ a Mozilla rep told T3N (mangled via Google Translate):

“We will probably launch some new services first and then we will think carefully about which model makes the most sense, while ensuring the best user safety. Firefox and many security features and services, like ETP [Enhanced Tracking Protection], will still be free.”

Beyond this few other details — though there is a release date.

In his interview Beard does say that Firefox Premium — whatever it actually turns out to be — will launch in October of this year.

I have to ask: would you pay for Firefox Premium?
Firefox Mozilla mozilla firefox VPN