Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Mozilla, Yahoo Sue Each Other Over Firefox's Default Search

Mozilla, Yahoo Sue Each Other Over Firefox's Default Search

Mozilla and Yahoo have filed complaints against each other regarding the use of Yahoo as Firefox's default search engine.

While Mozilla emphasizes that the decision to replace Yahoo with Google was exclusively taken to improve the customer experience with the new version of the web browser, Yahoo has knocked the court's door with the hope of saving its limited customer base through the web browser.

Mozilla's countersuit refers to unpaid fees from the agreement.

Mozilla counters in a complaint brought in the same court that the contract included a clause that allowed it to terminate the partnership.

Yahoo as a search engine has been facing tough competition from the search engine giant Google. But according to a Mozilla statement on Tuesday , the company reviewed the deal following Yahoo's acquisition and chose to exercise its "contractual right" to terminate its agreement with Yahoo. Mozilla has now filed a countersuit, claiming breach of contract.

Back in 2014 Mozilla and Yahoo struck a deal that would see Yahoo act as the default search engine in Firefox through 2019.

"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", Dixon said.

In November 2014, Mozilla announced a new search strategy for Firefox whereby it would select the best search experience on a region-by-region basis and embarked on a 5-year arrangement with Yahoo as the default search engine in the United States, replacing Google which had formerly been the global default.

Writing yesterday on the Mozilla blog, chief business and legal officer Denelle Dixon said her organization made a decision to terminate its agreement with Yahoo/Oath based on a number of factors, including doing what's best for the brand, its effort to provide quality Web search, and the broader content experience for its users. "The payments owed by Yahoo are key to financing Mozilla's efforts to launch the new version of its flagship product, Firefox". The foundation noted that Yahoo Search failed to meet the specification stated in the contract, and it claims that Yahoo's new owners, Oath, lacks any strategic plan in developing its search business.

"Rather than focus on improving the quality of its search product, as Yahoo assured Mozilla it would prior to entering into the deal, Yahoo continually focused on short-term monetization and special events such as the Olympics and the election, at the expense of product quality", Mozilla alleges. In turn, Yahoo is also suing Mozilla, claiming that their contract was terminated incorrectly. She also noted that although numerous legal issues between the two organizations are confidential, Mozilla plans to create a wiki page and provide other details publicly in the interest of openness and transparency.

Mozilla adds that the partnership was placing its privacy-friendly reputation at risk, given that Yahoo was recently acquired by Verizon.

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