Surprise! Mozilla Switches Out its Deal with Google for One with Yahoo

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 20, 2014

This month may very well prove to be the most momentous one in the history of Mozilla. Only a few days ago, I put up a post noting that Mozilla was up for renewal negotiations for its deal with Google, which has historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. In return, for lots of money, Google got primary search placement in the Firefox browser over the years. 

Now, though, the news has arrived that Google has taken its ball and gone home, while Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a "strategic five-year partnership" agreement which will make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox. This is evidence of how far Google has come with its own Chrome browser, and how it doesn't have the same need for the eyeballs and on-ramps that Firefox provides. 

Yahoo will introduce an enhanced search experience for U.S. Firefox users which is scheduled to launch in December.  Both Yahoo and Mozilla engineers are working on its implementation.

As Mozilla CEO Chris Beard notes:

"Today we are announcing a change to our strategy for Firefox search partnerships.  We are ending our practice of having a single global default search provider. 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."

Without a doubt, though, Yahoo will be the Big Kahuna in search placement for Firefox.

Recently, Firefox has been either holding steady market share in the browser market or losing share, while Google's Chrome browser has steadily gained share. In all likelihood, Google didn't feel the need to keep shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars a year for placement in Firefox.

And, of course, Mozilla is ever more focused on its Firefox OS mobile platform, so change is in the air for it, as well.