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Mozilla, Oath Sue Each Other over Terminated Yahoo Search Engine Deal

Just days after Yahoo Holdings/Oath sued Mozilla for breach of contract, the organization behind the Firefox Web browser has fired back with a breach of contract countersuit of its own.

The dispute has its roots in a 2014 partnership agreement in which Mozilla agreed to make Yahoo the default search engine for Firefox in the U.S. Mozilla recently terminated that agreement, citing several factors stemming from Verizon’s $4.48 billion acquisition and restructuring of Yahoo earlier this year.

The rebranded organization, which includes Yahoo Holdings and a separate business called Oath, sued Mozilla for breach of contract on Friday in California’s Santa Clara County Court. The lawsuit seeks damages, court costs and other forms of relief that have not been publicly disclosed. Filed yesterday, Mozilla’s countersuit in turn seeks “general, specific, and compensatory damages.”

‘No Relationship Should End This Way’

Writing yesterday on the Mozilla blog, chief business and legal officer Denelle Dixon said her organization decided to terminate its agreement with Yahoo/Oath based on a number of factors, including doing what’s best for the brand, its effort to provide quality Web search, and the broader content experience for its 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,” Dixon said. “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.”

Dixon added that the terms of Mozilla’s agreement with Yahoo clearly spell out its post-termination rights. She also noted that although many of the legal issues between the two organizations are confidential, Mozilla plans to create a wiki page and provide other details publicly in…


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