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07 December 2017, 04:12 | Casey Mitchell
Mozilla, Yahoo sue each other over search deal
Drawing attention to its legal action in a blog post, Mozilla points out that while it is not possible to reveal full details of what is going on, it would like to try to be as transparent as possible. Mozilla has now claimed breach of contract and filed its own cross-complaint.
Deals with search providers are big money-spinner for Mozilla, bringing in around US$300m a year and contributing around ninety per cent of the foundation's revenue.
Mozilla and Yahoo will soon face the courts after Yahoo was replaced the default search engine of Firefox. The case was filed by Verizon in the Court of California on 1st of December.
Mozilla wants Yahoo to continue making its annual payments even though it's no longer Firefox's default search browser, as the original contract stipulates, while Yahoo says it shouldn't have to because Mozilla isn't playing fair and besides, the problematic deal was made by Yahoo's former CEO and isn't necessarily indicative of the company's present-day vision. It claims that switching to Yahoo was done with the understanding that the search engine would receive significant investment to make it more competitive with the likes of Google and that other one you sometimes use by accident. Under the terms of the contract, which were revealed during Yahoo's sale process a year ago, the party that would acquire Yahoo would have to pay Mozilla $375 million annually through 2019. Yahoo put Mozilla on breach notice, and demanded that Yahoo be restored as the default U.S. search engine for Firefox. Google has been Mozilla's partner in other countries even though Mozilla has deals with Baidu in China and Yandex in Russian Federation.
The document adds that Mozilla took a high risk by choosing Yahoo as its default search provider, so it sought "contractual protections". "Because there was no improvement in the product quality, tests demonstrated that users continued to switch away from Yahoo Search, whether branded Yahoo or not", Mozilla alleges.
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The terms of our contract are clear and our post-termination rights under our contract with Yahoo should continue to be enforced.
Mozilla's countersuit refers to unpaid fees from the agreement. In the midst of the negotiations, some fine print in the Mozilla / Yahoo contract surfaced. 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.
"The payments owed by Yahoo are key to financing Mozilla's efforts to launch the new version of its flagship product, Firefox", the complaint says. Still, we are proud of how we conducted our business and product work throughout the relationship, how we handled the termination of the agreement, and we are confident in our legal positions.
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