Yahoo! Troubled web portal inks pact with Firefox

Yahoo! Troubled web portal [YHOO] inks pact with Firefox

Firefox Logo.
The well-known logo of Firefox. Browser parent Mozilla inks deal with Yahoo!

WASHINGTON, November 20, 2014 – Sources Thursday morning confirm that Yahoo! (YHOO) has cut a new deal with Firefox parent Mozilla to replace Google (GOOG) as its default search engine on Firefox in the U.S.

Under continuing pressure from investors and vulture capitalists looking for a fat dividend from YHOO following it mega profits from the recent Alibaba (BABA) IPO, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has made another incremental move, albeit a big one, hoping to boost her company’s sagging search market share.

Writing on the Yahoo! blog, Mayer boasted that the Firefox deal

helps to expand our reach in search and gives us an opportunity to work even more closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate in search, communications, and digital content.

Mayer’s “New Deal” is set to get underway in December and has been inked for five years. No financial terms were disclosed, although revenue sharing is almost certainly involved.

Effectively, the Yahoo! deal with Mozilla will actually benefit Microsoft (MSFT) as well, as YHOO has adopted Microsoft’s Bing search engine to underpin its own search functions.

The new agreement will integrate that Yahoo-Bing search into the Firefox browser for most electronic devices including computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. According to a Reuters report, Mayer believes the partnership will result in sorely needed share gain for her long-faltering company.

Currently, YHOO’s share of PC, smartphone and tablet searches accounts for only about 10% of all searches as opposed to Google’s whopping 67% share.

Functionally, the Yahoo!-Firefox move will be relatively transparent, but will become obvious, as Firefox search queries will automatically route to the Yahoo! website beginning sometime in December.

Reportedly, YHOO will be updating the look and feel of its search pages in preparation for the new link.

After taking a hit in Wednesday trading, shares of YHOO were up over 1% midafternoon on Thursday, trading at at $51.70 at 2:45 p.m. EST.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17