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Firefox and Yahoo!: A New Life For Both?

After 10 long years, Firefox has finally had enough and dumped Google in favour of Yahoo!. Firefox’s default search engine is switching from Google to Yahoo! in the US and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! is absolutely thrilled saying: “This is the most significant partnership for Yahoo! in five years.”

Did the relationship end because Google was too controlling or was it just all about the money?

In the Google-Mozilla deal in 2011, the three year contract reputedly gave Mozilla approximately $300 million each year. It is reasonable to assume that the new five year partnership between Yahoo! and Firefox must be in the same vein but according to Mozilla CEO Chris Beard, it wasn’t all about the money as Yahoo! is “aligned with our values of choice and independence”.

Still, what made Google give up the deal?

When it first came on the scene, Firefox was downloaded more than 100 million times in its first year. But in recent times it has fallen behind Chrome in popularity for various reasons. Constant crashing, bugs, and broken tabs were a cause of frustration for many. The browser has also failed to succeed in the mobility market, a critical growth area for Yahoo!. Its browser has fewer than 100m downloads on Android, which gives it less than one-tenth of the Google-Android market.

Google’s Chrome has also been a constant thorn in Mozilla’s backside and has gleefully become the most popular browser in the world. Google commands a 31.8% market in the US, up 6% year-on-year. Internet Explorer is down 6% to 30.9% while, Apple’s Safari is the third most popular browser with a 25%. In comparison, Mozilla’s Firefox browser is now at just 8.7%, after falling from a near 20% share over the past two years.

So what does this new partnership spell for Yahoo! and Firefox?

Both have been stung by Google and are in desperate need of help. Mayer took over Yahoo! as CEO in 2012 to revive the company but the figures have not been good. Earlier this year Yahoo! reported a second-quarter profit of $272.6 million that went down from $335 million a year earlier.

The partnership will be hugely beneficial for Yahoo! as it will undoubtedly see a usage spike. Yahoo!’s share of the US search market on desktop PCs is currently about 10% compared to Google’s 67%. With the new partnership, Yahoo! is undergoing a makeover and revamping the look of its search engine to attract users. Out from Google’s hold, Firefox might finally be allowed to breathe.

But how useful will Yahoo! be to Firefox when Yahoo! is struggling itself? Chrome, Android and iOS are showing no signs of slowing down so should they be worried by this new alliance? I doubt it.

 

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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