Mozilla Exits Google Firefox Search Deal In Favour Of Yahoo Tie-Up

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Mozilla wants to promote search competition with new local deals

Google will no longer be the default search engine in Firefox in all countries after Mozilla elected not to renew their agreement in favour of a number of local partnerships with the likes of Yahoo and Yandex.

Mozilla says the decision was motivated by a desire to give users more choice and promote competition among search providers, perhaps influenced by Google’s large market share.

However it could also be an attempt to diversify the non-profit organisation’s revenue stream, with the vast majority of its income derived from the Google deal, which has been renewed multiple times since 2005.

Firefox 33.1Localised focus

Mozilla says search is a core experience of the web browsing experience, with Firefox users making 100 billion searches a year. It stresses that users are still free to choose whichever search engine they wanted as their default, with 61 services available, including Bing, DuckDuckGo and Google.

“When we instituted a default search option, we broke from the industry standard by refusing commercial terms that demanded exclusivity,” explained Mozilla CEO Chris Beard. “And throughout the last 10 years, we have always provided pre-installed alternatives, and easy ways for our users to change, add or remove search engines.

“Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.

“We are adopting a more local and flexible approach to increase choice and innovation on the Web, with new and expanded search partnerships by country.”

Yahoo search deal

In many countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, France and Poland, users will see no change, but the default option has changed in other markets, most notably in the US, where Mozilla and Yahoo have reached a five year deal. In Russia, Yandex will become the default engine, while Baidu will continue to be the automatic option in China.

Mozilla’s agreement with Yahoo includes scope for future product collaborations and will take effect from next month. Yahoo has described the deal as “the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years” and will see an “enhanced” search experience for users.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Mozilla. Mozilla is an inspirational industry leader who puts users first and focuses on building forward-leaning, compelling experiences,” says Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. “At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search – it’s an area of investment, opportunity and growth for us. This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and also gives us an opportunity to work closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate more broadly in search, communications, and digital content.”

Earlier this year it was reported that Mayer wanted Yahoo to replace Google as the default search provider for iOS.

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