Yahoo And Mozilla Sue Each Other Over Partnership Collapse

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer speaks at Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2014- Day 3

Yahoo, which was purchased earlier this year by Verizon and then combined with AOL to form Oath, signed a contract with Mozilla in 2014 to make it the default search engine for five years. Back in 2014, Mozilla and Yahoo struck a deal, ensuring that Yahoo would be the default search engine on Firefox through to 2019.

Last month, Mozilla announced it would return to the warm embrace of its longtime search-engine provider in Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U.S. The announcement, Recode reports, spurred a legal battle with Yahoo Holdings and Oath, which filed a complaint last week alleging Mozilla had improperly terminated its agreement. In turn, Yahoo is also suing Mozilla, claiming that their contract was terminated incorrectly.

We recently exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo based on a number of factors including doing what's best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users.

Of course, Oath - which owns Yahoo and Verizon - isn't happy with this arrangement.

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Oath has not yet issued an official response to Mozilla's official response. Attorneys representing Mozilla also did not respond to inquiries. This is why the current dispute between Mozilla and Yahoo has led to legal action on both ends. 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. 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. Yahoo search market share is roughly 12 percent to Google's 63 percent. In the end, Mozilla concluded that sticking with Yahoo would have had a "negative impact". As early as January 2015, Mozilla began discussions with Yahoo on the shortcomings of the quality of the search product.

Mozilla cites third-party data that asserts that during the term of the agreement, Firefox lost market share to Chrome. While there remains a user option in Firefox to change the default search engine, the move resulted in Yahoo reaching five-year high search volumes a few months after the agreement. Furthermore, The foundation mentioned that its revenue from Yahoo did not meet expectations although payments continued until October 31, 2017. It attributes this (at least in part) to Yahoo search. Verizon executives even encouraged Mozilla to find other search providers, Mozilla said in court documents. And it's since headed to court to sue Mozilla for breaking their agreement. In order to secure the Firefox deal in the first place Marissa Mayer had agreed that in any change-of-control scenario Mozilla had the right to leave the partnership if it did not deem the new partner acceptable.

Due to the unstable condition of Yahoo, Verizon made a decision to buy the search engine company along with all its other subsidiaries. Once valued at $125 billion, the company's acquisition by Verizon represented the "saddest $5 billion deal in tech history", according to Forbes.

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