Mozilla And Yahoo Sue Each Other Over A Search Engine Deal

Joanna Estrada
December 7, 2017

The whole fiasco started when Mozilla sent a notice to Yahoo on November 10 stating that the "strategic agreement" between the two firms will be terminated immediately.

Mozilla retorted that it was perfectly legal and in their best interests to make the switch back to Google. Back in 2014, Mozilla and Yahoo struck a deal, ensuring that Yahoo would be the default search engine on Firefox through to 2019.

There's no doubt that Google offers faster and more precise results than Yahoo. (In response, Mayer's legal team agreed to have her testify before the Senate Commerce Committee-an outcome Mayer had initially resisted-and reportedly requested that lawmakers withdraw the subpoena in order for her testimony to "appear voluntary.") Now, her specter is reportedly haunting the remains of a deal between Yahoo's new owner, Oath, and Mozilla, inciting a legal battle. 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.

Oath, a Verizon subsidiary which controls Yahoo, has not yet commented on Mozilla's counter-claim. For Mozilla, agreements with search engines have brought in as much as US$300 million a year, which accounts for 90 percent of its income.

Yahoo's parent company, Oath (Verizon) has filed a complaint against Mozilla for breach of contract. According to Recode, there is a clause in the agreement that states that if Yahoo is acquired by another company during the term of the contract and Mozilla does not like the new partnership, it can walk away from the 2014 agreement.

Details of the deal were only made public past year, as CEO Marissa Mayer's time at the company came under the microscope while it prepared to sell itself to Verizon.

Mozilla said it exercised its contractual right to terminate its agreement with Yahoo, based on a number of factors. The lawsuit is demanding that Mozilla pay damages. "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".

But Mozilla filed a counter-claim. 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.

"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. The agreement gave Mozilla the right to leave the partnership if, under their discretion and in a specific time period, they did not find the new owner acceptable. No relationship should end this way - litigation doesn't further any goals for the ecosystem.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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