Firefox Changing to Bing, Instead of Google

…Sixteen days ago, Mozilla released its annual report, revealing that 98 percent of revenues come from search. The majority must be from Google, because it’s the default search engine and Google is No. 1 in most countries (okay, not China).

…But Mozilla is losing usage share, too, as partner Google laps it up. Firefox fell to 22.48 percent from 23.52 percent usage share between November 2010 and September 2011, according to NetApps. September marked the fourth consecutive month of decline for Firefox. Meanwhile, Chrome usage share rose to 16.2 percent from 9.57 from November to September, consecutively gaining share for all 11 months. At this pace, Chrome should catch Firefox by mid-2012. That makes Google a new-found competitor and one taking money from Mozilla’s wallet.

Mozilla has two good reasons then to release Firefox with Bing: Google is a competitor, and Bing can make up search revenues lost to Google. Microsoft powers Yahoo search. Combined, they had 31 percent US search share  in September, according to comScore. That’s just one country.

But there is another reason to consider, and this one could really lead to a hell freezes over announcement. Mozilla’s search deal with Google is up for renewal next month. Could it be Mozilla is prepping for a switch to Bing as default, which would be a huge coup for Microsoft and eventually Mozilla if Bing search share rises. The move also could be little more than a negotiating tactic, with Mozilla looking to leverage Firefox with Bing as it works out a new agreement with Google. Regardless, there’s a new choice for users, not that switching search providers is hard in Firefox…

By Joe Wilcox

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