World Media

Mozilla files counter suit against Yahoo & Oath

Mozilla files counter suit against Yahoo & Oath

Mozilla and Yahoo have started a legal spat about the deal that existed between the two companies regarding the use of the Yahoo search engine in the Firefox browser.

In its complaint, Mozilla also asked that Yahoo comply with the agreement's payment requirements, noting that those "are key to financing Mozilla's efforts to launch the new version of its flagship product, Firefox".

Yahoo and Mozilla have sued each other over the recent unraveling of what was supposed to be a five-year search partnership. According to the lawsuit, Mozilla sent the organizations a letter on November 10 stating its intent to terminate the agreement "effective immediately".

By the middle of a year ago, only 23% of Firefox users kept Yahoo as the default search engine, Mozilla alleged. Rather than focus on improving the quality of its search product, as Yahoo assured Mozilla it would prior to entering into the deal, Yahoo continually focused on short-term monetization and special events such as the Olympics and the election, at the expense of product quality.

Yahoo, which was purchased earlier this year by Verizon and then combined with AOL to form Oath, signed a contract with Mozilla in 2014 to make it the default search engine for five years.

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Mozilla wants Yahoo to continue making its annual payments even though it's no longer Firefox's default search browser, as the original contract stipulates, while Yahoo says it shouldn't have to because Mozilla isn't playing fair and besides, the problematic deal was made by Yahoo's former CEO and isn't necessarily indicative of the company's present-day vision.

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".

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 document adds that Mozilla took a high risk by choosing Yahoo as its default search provider, so it sought "contractual protections". "The terms of our contract are clear and our post-termination rights under our contract with Yahoo should continue to be enforced", Mozilla legal head Denelle Dixon said in a statement. In the end, Mozilla concluded that sticking with Yahoo would have had a "negative impact". According to Recode, there is a clause in the agreement that states that if Yahoo is acquired by another company during the term of the contract and Mozilla does not like the new partnership, it can walk away from the 2014 agreement. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo at the time, looked to cut into the popularity of rival Google's search engine through the millions of Firefox users.

On December 1, Yahoo Holdings and Oath filed a legal complaint against Mozilla in Santa Clara County court claiming that we improperly terminated our agreement. "Verizon poses significant brand issues for Mozilla and its reputation for protecting user privacy", Mozilla alleges. Following the 2016 announcement of its intent to purchase Yahoo, Verizon whittled down the price based on Yahoo's subsequent disclosure of major breaches in 2013 and 2014 that affected Yahoo's 3 billion user accounts.


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