The default Firefox search engine has become the subject of a hotly contested legal battle, a few weeks after Mozilla announced it would move from Yahoo to Google. Yahoo's new father, Oath, filed a lawsuit against Mozilla in a California court on December 1, alleging breach of contract. Now, Mozilla has filed a counterclaim, stating that the change was in line with an agreement reached between the two companies.
It sounds like something small, of course, but we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars here. In 201
Details of the agreement were made public last year, as CEO Marissa Mayer's time in the company was under the microscope as it prepared to be sold to Verizon. Because of its many flaws, the Verizon agreement passed, of course, forming a Pledge in the process (the Yahoo / AOL hybrid under which TechCrunch resides). Along with this, Verizon inherited an annual payment of $ 375 million through 2019.
It's not a bad deal for Mozilla, especially if you consider this little gem: Yahoo (or whoever owns Yahoo) is obligated to continue Payments, even if Mozilla for example, drop the search engine as your default. Mozilla was given the contractual right to terminate the agreement, if Yahoo was deemed unacceptable for any reason.
That precise thing happened a few weeks ago, when the company launched its new Quantum browser, going back to Google in the process. The latest version of Firefox has been very well regarded by many as a return to the form of a company that had previously been lost in the forest, quickly losing market share to Chrome in the process. Naturally, Juramento / Yahoo want a part of that action.
In yesterday's counterclaim, Mozilla explains that it took another long look at the post-Verizon acquisition agreement and that it was no longer in love with its choice of Yahoo as the default engine.
"Immediately after the acquisition of Yahoo, we carried out a long process of several months to seek guarantees from Yahoo and its buyers regarding those factors," the company explained in a blog post yesterday. "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."
Oath has not yet issued an official response to Mozilla's official response.
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