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07 December 2017, 06:32 | Brandon Parsons
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WELL WE could probably have seen this coming a mile off. Oath, the company that now owns Yahoo, has sued not-for-profit Mozilla after the latter made a decision to cut short a deal to make Yahoo the default search in Firefox.
Three years ago, Mozilla had announced that Yahoo will be the default search engine on its browser Firefox in the United States. 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. "When it became clear that continuing to use Yahoo as our default search provider would have a negative impact on all of the above, we exercised our contractual right to terminate the agreement and entered into an agreement with another provider". Yahoo is now part of Verizon's Oath, which also includes AOL and is helmed by Tim Armstrong.
In short - Oath blames Mozilla. Yahoo first filed a lawsuit against the developers of Firefox on December 1st, after what it considers as sufficient period for Mozilla to reverse its breach of contract.
Mozilla and Yahoo's search partnershp was supposed to run through 2019.
Due to the unstable condition of Yahoo, Verizon chose to buy the search engine company along with all its other subsidiaries. Web browsers, where most Internet users start their online visits, are a lucrative source of search traffic against which companies like Yahoo and Google sell ads.
Mozilla had switched to Yahoo from Google when Mayer offered a beneficial deal that provided unparalleled terms protecting Mozilla in case there was a change-in-power at Yahoo.
Mozilla said that when it informed Verizon of the contract performance issues, it was told to "explore other search providers". Our official statement on this matter is: "On December 1, Yahoo Holdings and Oath filed a legal complaint against Mozilla in Santa Clara County court claiming that we improperly terminated our agreement".
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Firefox's market share is about 13 percent to Chrome's almost 59 percent. Mozilla dumped Yahoo as the default search engine in its new Firefox brower in November, replacing it with Google. Reports of widespread security breaches at Yahoo hurt its reputation, according to Mozilla.
But Yahoo has since been acquired by Verizon.
The majority of Mozilla Corporation's revenue is from royalties earned through Firefox web browser search partnerships and distribution deals around the world.
In its complaint, Mozilla also asked that Yahoo comply with the agreement's payment requirements, noting that those "are key to financing Mozilla's efforts to launch the new version of its flagship product, Firefox".
Mayer left Yahoo in June when Verizon closed its $4.48 billion acquisition of the company.
One last thing: the two Yahoo! companies mentioned in both claims are registered in Ireland and Singapore, friendly jurisdictions for multinationals that like to optimise their tax affairs.
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