Good news for Mozilla: if Yahoo implodes—as in, if the company is eventually sold to someone that completely mucks up Yahoo's strategies and vision—Mozilla still gets a pretty big payout. Or, at least, it could. According to Recode, the contract Mozilla made with Yahoo that makes Yahoo the default search engine in Firefox also comes with a great clause for Mozilla.
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In said contract—clause 9.1, specifically—the party that ultimately acquires Yahoo could end up paying Mozilla annual payments of $375 million until 2019. That's because Mozilla has the right to determine whether the purchasing party is acceptable in the company's eyes. If it isn't, Mozilla can walk away from the Yahoo search deal and, if it so chooses, strike another deal with another company entirely. Yahoo would still be on the hook to pay Mozilla an annual revenue guarantee for, well, nothing.
"Each of our search partnerships is the result of a competitive process reflective of the value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem. The Yahoo relationship is no different," Mozilla told Recode.
Of course, Mozilla could very well stick with its Yahoo deal and not walk away, assuming that Yahoo's buyer—whoever it ends up being—is just as interested in search as Yahoo has been during CEO Marissa Mayer's tenure.
Mayer jumped into Yahoo's CEO spot from Google, where she previously served as VP. As a result, some have wondered whether she has placed too much of an influence on search volume (and monetizing search).
Final bids from interested companies are expected to arrive by July 18.