Right, so pay attention on this one because this is going to get interesting.
Firefox, the Internet browser from Mozilla, has a new branding and messaging. The new name: Firefox Quantum and the company reports that it is up to 30% faster than Google Chrome. Great, competition is good and Firefox is a solid browser.
The interesting part is the default browser in this latest update. It is now Google Search, not Yahoo has it has been since 2015. That’s when Yahoo agreed to pay some $375 million to Mozilla to have Yahoo as the default search engine in Firefox. The deal was reportedly through 2019. Deals like this are not new. But there appears to have been a kicker in the deal for Mozilla.
To be clear, we are talking about the default search engine here in the United States. In other parts of the world, Google has been the default, not Yahoo.
It has come to light that a clause in the agreement that, if Yahoo were purchased, Mozilla could change the default search engine and still get the payments through 2019. That means, assuming payments for 2017 were paid, Yahoo would still have to pay Mozilla some $750 million – and not be the default browser.
For those that don’t remember, Verizon purchased Yahoo earlier this year. Anyone want to make bets at the number of Verizon lawyers looking this over?
If the clause is laid out as it has been reported by multiple sources, it would mean that Mozilla is well within their rights to change the default search engine.
To be clear, users can still select Yahoo as their default search engine in Firefox along with several other search providers. But the coveted default is what everyone wants as it means users don’t have to go into settings to change things.
For me, this could be one of the more interesting stories for the end of 2017 and I certainly don’t think we’ve heard the end of it.