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Mozilla CEO: It Wasn’t Money — Yahoo Was The Better Strategic Partner For Firefox
Mozilla CEO Chris Beard says when presented with deals of "equivalent economics" to power search in Firefox, Yahoo was the better partner.
It wasn’t more money that helped Yahoo win the Firefox search deal away from Google. According to Mozilla CEO Chris Beard, whose Mozilla Foundation oversees Firefox, Yahoo was simply the better strategic partner.
In an interview today with Marketing Land, Beard said that the deals it was looking at had “equivalent economics” but Yahoo had the edge as being more aligned strategically with Firefox. Said Beard:
When we went and looked at the options in front of us, we saw two equivalent economics that were both really good for us and reflective of the value that we’re providing in the marketplace. So then we really shifted and focused on the strategic opportunity and alignment of our strategy.
This is in parallel to us doing a deep strategic review and really looking at our competitive strategy and how we were going to move forward. And so we adopted this approach of really looking by country and region, what’s the best approach is.
Again, it comes back to more choice and opportunity in the web ecosystem. So the economics were all good, and it really came across and came back to the strategic opportunity.
The official line from the Mozilla blog post about the deal helps parse what being a good strategic partner seems to be.
It praises Yahoo as being “aligned with our values of choice and independence” — which suggests that Firefox was feeling that Google had become too controlling or wanted more control about what was happening within Firefox. Or, perhaps Mozilla felt Google has been less about supporting the web and more about supporting itself than in the past.
Maybe it’s something else — but whatever it is, it doesn’t position Google in a good light.
Google had been Firefox’s default search partner for 10 years, last renewing in 2011. So far, Google hasn’t responded with any comment about the change.
Mozilla Renews Google For Europe But Stays Quiet About Deal
One bright spot for Google — it remains the Firefox partner in Europe, something the Firefox blog post omitted. That post made clear Yahoo was the new US choice, Yandex the new Russian choice and Baidu the choice in China.
But for Europe and other places like Africa or South America? It said nothing. When asked, Beard confirmed to Marketing Land that Google is the choice for Europe.
He gave no explanation why Google was allowed to continue in Europe through what must be a new deal, given that Google’s formerly worldwide deal is ending.
Postscript: See our follow-up story about the situation in Europe, Free Ride? In Europe, Google Will Remain Firefox Search Default Despite No Deal.