Yahoo usurps Google as Firefox's default search engine

(Image courtesy Titanas, via Flickr.)
(Image courtesy Titanas, via Flickr.)

Decade-long partnership ends as Yahoo moves to reclaim search territory

Yahoo is replacing Google as the default search engine on the Firefox Web browser in the United States, a move that could erode Google's 90 percent domination of the search market.

The five-year deal between the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation and Yahoo ends a 10-year relationship between the Firefox owner and Google and will result in a redesigned Firefox website.

Beginning next month, users will be able to download a new Yahoo-enabled version of Firefox. U.S. users will automatically search via Yahoo’s engine when entering text in the search bar.

The agreement is a clear sign that Yahoo is refocusing its business on search, which is currently powered by Microsoft’s Bing with search results tweaked and adapted by Yahoo.

According to comScore data, Google commands 67 percent of searches from U.S. desktop computers, with Microsoft accounting for appriximately 20 percent and Yahoo 10 percent.

Mozilla and Google had been increasingly encroaching on each other’s territory. Google’s Chrome search engine competes with Firefox, while Mozilla has developed its own operating system that can run smartphones and competes with Google’s Android.

"Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004," said Chris Beard, chief executive of the Mozilla Foundation. "Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.

"We are excited to partner with Yahoo to bring a new, reimagined Yahoo search experience to Firefox users in the U.S., featuring the best of the Web, and to explore new innovative search and content experiences together."

Said Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive: "This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and also gives us an opportunity to work closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate more broadly in search, communications, and digital content."

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