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Firefox saved as Google renews default search engine deal

firefox-5The ‘will they or won’t they’ suspense has ended. Google has climbed back into bed with the Firefox web browser, renewing the agreement to stay as default search engine for Firefox.

The financial terms were undisclosed, but the Mozilla blog announced Tuesday that this “significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement” has been extended for a at least another three years. Mozilla doesn’t go into too much detail about what the three year agreement entails.

“Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come,” said Senior VP of Search at Google, Alan Eustace.

The contract was set to be renewed last month, but apparently the two companies have been in negotiations this entire time. The delay began to stir up a murmur about the fate of Firefox without Google as a partner. The search company’s deal pays Mozilla for the privilege of being the default search engine. More than 98 percent of Mozilla’s 2010 revenue came from royalties paid by search-engine companies, and by some estimates, Google made up around 85 percent of that. For 2010, Google was basically $100 million of Mozilla’s entire $123 million income.

The rise in ranking for Google’s Chrome browser may have helped fuel the worry surrounding Firefox. Chrome, according to StatCounter, recently passed Firefox up, becoming the second most popular browser globally with a 25.7 percent market share in November 2011. Though other metrics firms stated slightly different figures, it has begun to look as if Google didn’t need Firefox anymore.

However, there’s no need to speculate anymore as to whether Firefox will limp along or if Microsoft will rush in to fill Google’s gap; Firefox will continue to be propped up for the next few years. Hopefully, over the three year breather, we’ll see some diversification with Firefox to make up for its vulnerabilites.

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