November 19, 2014 Last Updated 11:08 am

Yahoo strikes five year deal with Firefox to become default search engine

If you are a Firefox user you will soon notice a chance in the default search engine after Yahoo struck a five year deal with Mozilla Corporation to replace Google.

header-firefox“We’re thrilled to partner with Mozilla,” said Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO. “Mozilla is an inspirational industry leader who puts users first and focuses on building forward-leaning, compelling experiences. We’re so proud that they’ve chosen us as their long-term partner in search, and I can’t wait to see what innovations we build together.”

The deal is for five years and the announcement did not mention how much money the deal will cost Yahoo, but it will surely be a cash boost for Mozilla.

“Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004,” Chris Bearch, CEO at Mozilla wrote on the company’s blog. “Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.”

Mozilla will now use Yahoo in the U.S., while continuing to list other search engine alternatives. In Russia, Firefox will go with Yandex Search, while in China the default search engine will be Baidu.

In 2013, Mozilla reported that it had recorded $305 million in royalty revenue for the prior year – and that 90 percent of that revenue came from its deal with Google. Being the default search engine on a browser, therefore, means driving a lot of traffic to the search engine, and then lots of ad dollars. But Google’s own Chrome browser is now in a dominant position, with both Chrome and Safari dominating mobile. Firefox, while still used by many on desktops, is in a far weaker position. But Yahoo needs to drive ad dollars, and flush with cash thanks to its Alibaba shares, can afford to buy that traffic.

(On TNM, users who use Firefox represent about 14 percent of all users. Worldwide, Firefox’s share of the browser market varies from 14 to 18+ percent, depending on who is measuring.)

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