Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, revealed today that it has established a revenue sharing agreement with Yahoo. As part of the deal, the Firefox Web browser that is shipped in Ubuntu will be configured to use Yahoo as the default search engine . . .
The change will encompass both the search provider in Firefox’s toolbar and the default start page. Users will still be able to quickly change the default search service by clicking the search provider icon in Firefox and selecting the search service of their choice from the dropdown menu. In order to make it easier for users to switch completely, Canonical is customizing the browser so that switching your default search provider will also change your start page if you haven’t already set one.
Yahoo still has a large number “default search” deals in the mobile arena with wireless operators around the globe. However, it has lost the PC deals it once had to Microsoft or Google in some cases. Acer, I believe, is the remaining major PC OEM to offer Yahoo as the default search provider on its machines (could be wrong). Yahoo is however the search provider on many of its partner sites (e.g., newspapers).
Yesterday Yahoo reported Q4 earnings, which showed a recovery in its display ad business and slightly better than expected results overall. Search advertising was down 15 percent YoY but up 4 percent compared to Q3.
Yahoo CFO Tim Morse said the following about Yahoo’s search business on the earnings call:
Search is an important part of Yahoo! Growing search revenue is a key company priority. We are focused on pulling both the volume and monetization levers to improve results. On the volume side we are using a combination of product enhancements, search oriented marketing spending and the power of the Yahoo! network as a search distribution channel to reaccelerate query volume. On monetization I mentioned the matching technology we recently brought into the marketplace that benefited the RPS. That is just the first step of an aggressive roadmap of monetization enhancements we are executing on.