Last month I wrote about the changing of the default search engine from Yahoo to Google in the latest Mozilla browser. At the time, Yahoo had just been purchased by Verizon and had been assimilated into the new Oath business of the company. The agreement between then Yahoo and Mozilla was for some $750 million but Mozilla, based on the purchase of Yahoo, felt they had a way out of the agreement and still get paid.
My quote at the time: Right, so pay attention on this one because this is going to get interesting.
Well, it just got interesting.
Yahoo filed a lawsuit on December 1st claiming that Mozilla was in breach of contract for changing the default search engine. Mozilla then counter sued on December 5th stating that Yahoo owed them the remainder of the contract fees and that they were within their contractural rights to cancel the agreement.
The implications are, as you would expect, huge. Mozilla could be on the hook for fines and fees if they are found in breach of contract while Yahoo could end up having to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars and still not be the default search engine.
The question is who is right and that is what the courts will have to decide. Ultimately both companies feel they are in the right and Mozilla feels that having Google as the default search engine in their new Firefox browser is best for them. Oath, on the other hand, wants to be the default in Firefox simply because it needs the potential revenue.
Either way, this is going to be one to watch and it is likely going to take months to settle.