Mozilla and Yahoo today announced a joint five-year “strategic” partnership that will see the Firefox browser’s default search engine change to Yahoo. Since 2004, Google has been the default search engine for Firefox, but when the agreement came to an end this year, Mozilla said that it decided to make a change.
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In a blog post, Mozilla remarked that it took this as an opportunity to review its “competitive strategy” and explore other options. The primary consideration, the company says, was to find a search engine whose strategies aligned with its own values, while also having the best experience for users.
Mozilla’s Firefox browser is used by roughly 17 percent of web users. Mozilla CEO Chris Beard says that Firefox users initiate more than 100 billion searches a year, which should significantly increase traffic to Yahoo with this new agreement.
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. In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence, and positions us to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web.
Mozilla says that starting in December, Firefox users in the United States will begin to see a new and enhanced Yahoo Search experience. In Russia, users will begin to see Yandex Search as the default option. Baidu will remain the default search experience for users in China.
It’s important to note that current Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was once Google’s Vice President of Search Products and User Experience. There’s a strong likelihood that Mayer was in charge of the relationship between Google and Mozilla while working for the Mountain View-based company. In that case, when it came time for Mozilla negotiate a new deal with a search engine, it first reached out to its long-time partner Mayer.