Firefox users may be happy to see Google again as the browser's default search engine. But the move has sparked a legal battle between browser developer Mozilla and Yahoo.
The two companies are suing each other for a 2014 agreement that converted Yahoo's default search provider Firefox. That agreement was quite favorable for Mozilla; It allowed the company to circumvent the agreement – and receive an annual payment of $ 375 million until 2019 – if another company acquired Yahoo and Mozilla found that the new partner was inadequate.
Last month, Mozilla decided to activate the contract of the company. rights and terminated the deal, following the acquisition of Yahoo by Verizon. This happened when Mozilla released Firefox Quantum, a major browser update that has been getting rave reviews.
On Tuesday, Mozilla detailed the decision in a blog post, saying it spent months studying how the new Yahoo owned by Verizon could affect the Firefox web search, the experience of the user and the brand. In the end, Mozilla concluded that continuing with Yahoo would have had a "negative impact".
In response, Yahoo filed a lawsuit against Mozilla in a California court, alleging breach of contract.
"Yahoo has suffered and will continue to suffer competitive damage to its business and reputation, among other damages," the lawsuit says. The lawsuit demands that Mozilla pay damages.
On Tuesday, Mozilla filed a counterclaim with the court to force Yahoo to suspend the terms of the agreement and pay.
"The payments owed by Yahoo are key to financing Mozilla's efforts to launch the new version of its flagship product, Firefox," says the complaint.
The document adds that Mozilla took a high risk by choosing Yahoo as its default search provider, so it sought "contractual protections". He also blames Yahoo for reducing the use of Firefox by not improving the company's search engine.
Mozilla also expressed concern about Verizon's ability to protect user privacy, citing the company's agreement with the FCC in 2014 for marketing purposes without their consent.
"Verizon's political positions are also diametrically opposed to Mozilla's positions on core issues such as network neutrality and cybersecurity," said Mozilla, a strong supporter of net neutrality in the lawsuit.
Juramento, a subsidiary of Verizon that controls Yahoo, has not yet commented on Mozilla's counterclaim.