Mozilla And Yahoo Sue Each Other Over Search Engine Deal


Nearly exactly three years later, when Firefox Quantum was released, on November 14 2017, Mozilla reverted to making Google the default search engine in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while retaining Yandex In Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan and Baidu in China.

Now, Yahoo and Mozilla have each filed complaints alleging that the other company violated the 2014 contract. Yahoo's side of the story is that terminating the deal was a breach of contract. But when Mozilla last month launched the Firefox Quantum, a major update to the browser with Google as the default search provider, both the companies ended their partnership. The case was filed by Verizon in the Court of California on 1st of December. In order to secure the Firefox deal in the first place Marissa Mayer had agreed that in any change-of-control scenario Mozilla had the right to leave the partnership if it did not deem the new partner acceptable. The response has been full of adulation and admiration due to the contemporary interface of the web browser as well as the improved third-party extension system.

In mid-November, Mozilla announced they would be returning to Google, their longtime search provider for U.S., Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

In yesterday's counter-complaint, Mozilla explains that it took another long look at the deal post-Verizon acquisition and was no longer in love with its choice of Yahoo as the default engine.

As a result of Mozilla's decision, Yahoo filed a complaint against the company.

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Due to the unstable condition of Yahoo, Verizon chose to buy the search engine company along with all its other subsidiaries. According to Recode, the terms of the agreement stipulated that whomever acquired Yahoo would be obligated to pay Mozilla "annual payments of $375 million through 2019, even if [Mozilla] does not think the buyer was one it wanted to work with and walked away". Half way through this, Mozilla terminated the deal and resorted to using Google as the default search provider for Firefox.

"Immediately following Yahoo's acquisition, we undertook a lengthy, multi-month process to seek assurances from Yahoo and its acquirers with respect to those factors", the company explained in a blog post yesterday. In 2014, it had entered into a deal with Mozilla to be the default search engine for five years.

Mozilla said it exercised its contractual right to terminate its agreement with Yahoo, based on a number of factors. In the midst of the negotiations, some fine print in the Mozilla / Yahoo contract surfaced.

While the claims in Mozilla's filing have been redacted, it is clear from Mozilla's official statement that this umbrella clause will play a key role in the countersuit. We enter into all of our relationships with a shared goal to deliver a great user experience and further the web as an open platform. That could work out at around $750 million, plus however much Mozilla is earning from Google as its new search partner. No relationship should end this way - litigation doesn't further any goals for the ecosystem.