10 years ago, Firefox was the main alternative to Internet Explorer, which was the dominant browser at that time. "Before July 2004, according to WebSideStory, Internet Explorer was used by about 95% of web surfers. That figure had remained static for years," reported BBC.
Ever since its launch, Google was the main source of revenue for Mozilla, thanks to a lucrative partnership that made Google the default search engine in Firefox. Now Mozilla partnered with Yahoo, which will be the default search engine in the US for the next 5 years.
"Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options. Today we are announcing a change to our strategy for Firefox search partnerships. We are ending our practice of having a single global default search provider. We are adopting a more local and flexible approach to increase choice and innovation on the Web, with new and expanded search partnerships by country," informs Mozilla. "Starting in December, Firefox users will be introduced to a new enhanced Yahoo Search experience that features a clean, modern interface that brings the best of the Web front and center. Under this partnership, Yahoo will also support Do Not Track (DNT) in Firefox."
Firefox will use different default search engines, depending on the country: Yandex in Russia, Baidu in China. Google will continue to be one of the preinstalled search engines and the Safe Browsing and Geolocation features will still use Google.
Why switch to a different search provider? Firefox's main competitor is no longer Internet Explorer, it's now Chrome. Mozilla wants to show how it differs from Google: it'a a non-profit organization, it focuses more on privacy and it has a different mission. "This is why our independence matters. Being non-profit lets us make different choices. Choices that keep the Web open, everywhere and independent. We think today is a big step in that direction," says Chris Beard, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation.
Update: According to ExtremeTech, "Google will remain the default search provider in Europe".