Ubuntu developer and distributor Canonical has inked a deal with Yahoo! to make the latter the default search provider in upcoming versions of the operating system. This means Yahoo! will replace Google as the default search engine in the customized version of Firefox built into the company’s Ubuntu operating system. Canonical will earn a share of the advertising revenue generated by Yahoo! from this deal.
Firefox creator Mozilla Foundation already has a similar agreement with Google. The agreement gives the Foundation a part of the advertising revenue generated in return for making Google the default search engine on its internet browser. This revenue makes up a lion’s share of the total income for the Mozilla Foundation.
With Canonical signing its own deal with Yahoo! for the same browser, the Foundation will be faced with a revenue loss, as a part of the income would get diverted to Canonical. Clarifying the intentions behind their decision, Canonical’s Rick Spencer said that the revenue from this deal would “help Canonical provide developers and resources to continue the open development of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Platform”.
While the switching of the search engines has been confirmed, Canonical has made allowances for Mozilla to continue receiving revenues. The customized Firefox will still have a choice of search engines including the same version of Google that is built into Firefox currently. With users free to select the one they want to set as their default search engine, the income for Mozilla from this channel is not likely to dry up completely.
With Google’s continued dominance of the search engine domain and most users hesitant about changing their default search provider, Canonical’s move could bear mixed results. The deal is also a strange one because Yahoo! has already signed a pact with Microsoft to sell off its business to the software giant. Now everyone in the tech world knows that Microsoft and Linux do not see eye-to-eye. So the agreement could possibly turn out to be something of a tug-of-war. Plus, it is still pending regulatory approval.
The number of users that actually stick to the new Yahoo! search in Ubuntu’s Firefox and the revenues earned by Canonical are things that only time will reveal.