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Yahoo’s parent company sues Mozilla for breach of contract

Yahoo’s new owner Oath has entered a bitter lawsuit with American technology firm Mozilla over a breach of contract that’s seen it favour Google.

Three years ago, Yahoo and Mozilla came to an agreement that saw it become the company’s official search engine in the United States.

However, as Search Engine Land reports, Mozilla has since attempted to distance itself from Yahoo. Last month, it launched the Firefox Quantum browser, and it comes with Google running out of the box.

Of course, Oath – which owns Yahoo and Verizon – isn’t happy with this arrangement. And it’s since headed to court to sue Mozilla for breaking their agreement.

Oath claims that the companies have been in a “long-term strategic agreement” for the past few years. But Firebox has since “terminated” this without fair reason, it claims. 

Before taking to court, Oath explains that it tried to make amends with Mozilla by asking it to “take immediate steps to cure its breaches and rescind its termination notice”. That doesn’t seem to have worked, though.

Oath is hoping to get a financial return from Mozilla due to “damages” caused to its business, but it’s unknown exactly how much the company is asking.

Although there aren’t any details available on the contract signed by the companies, Mozilla claims that the terms for termination were laid out clearly. The firm says it used its right to bring the relationship to an end.

In a statement, Mozilla explained: “We recently exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo based on a number of factors including doing what’s 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.

“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.”

Mozilla said that it failed to get a sufficient return in interest from the  agreement, and of course, there’s the fact that Yahoo has been plagued with major security breaches.

“Yahoo Search consistently failed to retain users and search volume over time, reducing the potential revenue [for Mozilla] under the Strategic Agreement,” added Mozilla.

“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

“These issues began early in the relationship. As early as January 2015, Mozilla began discussions with Yahoo on the shortcomings of the quality of the search product . . . Mozilla determined in January 2015 that the user experience Yahoo Search provided was sub-par.”

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