Mozilla countersues Oath over Firefox switch from Yahoo to Google

Image Credit dennizn

The courtroom drama is heating up between Mozilla, Yahoo Holdings and Oath. Back in 2014, Yahoo struck a deal that would make its search engine the default for Mozilla's popular, if struggling, browser, to the tune of $375 million a year. However, Mozilla has pulled the plug on the deal ahead of schedule, claiming that it was not getting paid.

Although the deal was favorable to Mozilla, the company chose to terminate the agreement and contractual rights after Verizon acquired Yahoo.

Yahoo!'s complaint [PDF] was posted by Mozilla and is heavily-redacted, but the gist of it is simple: the companies had a deal, Mozilla welched, and that means Yahoo!

In response to the lawsuit by Oath, Mozilla stated: "We recently exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo based on a number of factors including doing what'd best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users".

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This led to the litigation being filed against Mozilla where the agreement between Yahoo and Mozilla was referred to both the companies which was established back in 2014. However, the kicker is that the contract also states that should Mozilla walk away due to a change in ownership on Yahoo's part, the new parent company would still have to pay Mozilla for the remainder of the contract.

On Tuesday, Mozilla filed a counter-claim in court to force Yahoo to hold up the terms of the deal, and pay up.

KitGuru Says: From the sounds of it, Yahoo agreed to a pretty bad deal with some unfavorable clauses when it comes to new ownership.

Mozilla terminated the agreement that it had in place with Yahoo in early November, with Yahoo having allegedly ceased payments after the end of October.

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Deals between the software companies that develop web browsers and search engine providers can be quite lucrative and these agreements have earned Mozilla as much as $300 million a year or 90 per cent of its income.

Immediately following Yahoo's acquisition, we undertook a lengthy, multi-month process to seek assurances from Yahoo and its acquirers with respect to those factors.

The terms of our contract are clear and our post-termination rights under our contract with Yahoo should continue to be enforced. 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. We measure our success not only by the adoption of our products, but also by our ability to increase the control people have in their online lives, our impact on the health of the internet, our contribution to standards, and how we work to protect and build the web that users need and want. The firm says it used its right to bring the relationship to an end. On December 5, Mozilla filed a cross-complaint seeking to ensure that our rights under our contract with Yahoo are enforced.

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