Posted December 21, 2011 9:00 am by with 4 comments

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Google has retained its deal to be the default search engine in Mozilla’s Firefox browser which is used by over 400 million people. The deal comes after a three week period where the previous deal had expired and there was some concern (especially in Mozilla’s accounting office and board room) as to whether a new deal would be struck.

Well, Mozilla is more than happy to report on their blog

We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.

“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla.

“Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come,” said Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Search, Google.

The specific terms of this commercial agreement are subject to traditional confidentiality requirements, and we’re not at liberty to disclose them.

So an obvious question for inquiring search minds is where was Micosoft’s Bing in this opportunity to grab more market share with one fell swoop than could happen just about anywhere else? Well, the Business Insider’s take is that Microsoft may have reached the point where they stop shoveling gobs of shareholder profits into the mouth of the search beast whose hunger could not be met. A dramatic way to say that maybe they are done pissing money away on search.

Last year, Google paid Mozilla about $103 million for the right to be the default search engine.

That’s chump change for Microsoft. Even if the deal was much more expensive this time around as both companies bid up the price, Microsoft blinked first.


Microsoft had no comment, but here’s one possibility: Microsoft has already reached its market share goal with Bing and is tightening the wallet to bring expenses under control.

Some of the evidence they roll out is the fact that Bing has reached its desired 30% of search market share with its Bingahoo set up, it has decreased marketing spend by 25% last quarter (YoY), it is paying lower than market wages to attract talent to Bing and they have let some serious players seek opportunities elsewhere within Microsoft where there may be more for them for the future.

If these reasons are truly the case, and it is speculation of course that they are, then are the search wars over for now?

Maybe the battleground has just shifted from actual competitive activities to the new Microsoft technique of trying to legislate competition by being a driving force of the ridiculous Fair Search movement? If that is the “strategy” that Bing has cooked up then we should all be concerned because in a word, that’s lame.

So what do you think? Is the Bing v Google battle on the wane? Is losing billions of dollars of shareholders’ money wearing on the software giant? Or is it that they are really just a software giant and not an Internet player after all? With cloud services getting the traction they currently are how long will Microsoft have a traditional software business to line the coffers?

  • It would be unfortunate if Bing was backing off. The competition has been good for search and has kept Google on its toes.

  • Bing can’t keep flushing billions of dollars down the toilet forever though. Shareholders usually have issues with those tactics.

  • Cynthia Boris

    I just can’t get used to Bing. I started using it this week, to try their new reward program and it just doesn’t suit me. Not even for the promise of an Amazon GC after 1,000 searches.

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