There is additional information from the investigation into the antitrust case filed by the US Department of Justice against Google regarding search engine monopoly. Google’s representatives have presented a video interview of Mitchell Baker, the CEO of Mozilla, to counter the allegations of anticompetitive behavior.
In the video, Baker reveals that Mozilla decided to switch to using Yahoo as its default search engine in 2014, following a proposal by Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo at that time. Baker claims that it was a joint decision with Mozilla, but the result was a failure, as Yahoo’s search engine led to a significantly worse user experience on Firefox.
Google utilizes this information to demonstrate that changing the default search engine of a browser can have negative consequences for users, even if they have the option to change it themselves. Therefore, Google argues that its contract with various partners, in which it pays up to $26 billion in 2021 to be the default search engine on different platforms, is not anticompetitive. It is merely a business strategy to limit competition and opportunities for other search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing or DuckDuckGo.
Yahoo paid Mozilla at least $375 million annually to be the default search engine in Firefox, higher than Google’s proposed value of $276 million. However, the response was not favorable, resulting in a continuous decline in Firefox’s market share, which once reached a peak of 32% in the United States. This eventually led to Firefox switching back to using Google as its default search engine in 2017.
Baker further adds that the events demonstrate that users prefer using Google more, and currently, Mozilla receives payments from Google to be the default search engine in Firefox. However, the exact value of the contract has not been disclosed, only mentioned to be higher than the previous contract with Yahoo. Baker also acknowledges that Mozilla continues to explore other search options such as Bing to assess suitable alternatives.
TLDR: The investigation into Google’s antitrust case reveals that Mozilla’s experiment with Yahoo as the default search engine in Firefox resulted in a poor user experience, leading to Firefox reverting to using Google. Google argues that its payments to partners for being the default search engine on various platforms are not anti-competitive but rather a business strategy. Mozilla currently receives payments from Google, but other search alternatives are being considered.