Mozilla is experimenting with replacing Google Search as the default search engine on its Firefox browser with Microsoft’s Bing service.
This is according to a report from German web developer Sören Hentzschel, who closely tracks developments around the performance-focused browser. Google is currently the default search engine on Firefox in most countries and has been for several years.
Mozilla’s only major break from the company was between 2014 and 2017 when it entered into an agreement to set the Yahoo search engine as its default. Despite users being able to change their search engine, the default engine plays a significant role in Mozilla’s business model.
Google pays it handsomely to have Google Search as the default option, contributing 88% to the company’s total revenue in 2019. However, a change is unlikely to be implemented soon, as Mozilla reportedly extended its current agreement with Google for another three years in August 2020.
Firefox’s market share has dropped in recent years. Mozilla may fear that Google will no longer see value in an agreement with the company. Around 65% of browser users are using Google’s own Chrome browser, which means it is already exposing billions of people to its search engine. By comparison, Firefox only has about 3.5% market share, similar to Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser.
Aside from the fact that Firefox is now facing stiff competition from Edge, an agreement with Microsoft would also be strange given that Mozilla has seemingly been tussling with Microsoft’s attempts to force Edge onto Windows users.
The company recently launched a feature in Firefox version 91 that allows Windows 10 users to switch from Edge as their default browser to Firefox with a single click. Typically, Windows 10 users would be forced to change their default browser in the Settings app.
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