Recently the news was released from what appeared a warning in the support section from the Mozilla website that "some users will experience a change in their search engine default in the March 8 release of Firefox 98″.
Indicates that the change will affect users in all countries, but it is not reported which search engines will be removed (the list is not defined in the code, the search engine handlers are loaded as plugins based on country, language and other parameters). Currently, access to the discussion of the upcoming change is open only to Mozilla employees.
It is mentioned that the possible reason to force a change to the default search engine in the next version of Firefox 98 is the inability to continue providing drivers for some search engines due to lack of official agreement (formal permission).
It should be noted that search engines previously offered in Firefox were given the opportunity to sign a cooperation agreement and those systems that do not meet the conditions will be eliminated. If desired, the user will be able to return the search engine that interests him, but he will have to install the separately distributed search plugin or the plugin associated with it.
The change appears to be related to search traffic royalty deals, which generate the bulk of Mozilla's revenue. For example, in 2020, Mozilla's share of revenue from cooperation with search engines was 89%.
In the English build of Firefox, Google is offered by default, while other versions, such as the Russian and Turkish versions, "Yandex" is offered as the default and for the Chinese build, "Baidu". A deal with Google to transfer search traffic, which brings in about $400 million a year, has been extended in 2020 to August 2023.
In 2017, Mozilla already had the experience of discontinuing Yahoo as the default search engine due to a breach of contract, while withholding all payments due for the entire duration of the agreement.
From the fall of 2021 to the end of January 2022, an experiment was carried out according to which 1% of Firefox users were transferred to use the Microsoft Bing search engine by default. Perhaps this time too, one of the search partners failed to meet Mozilla's privacy and search quality requirements, and Bing is being considered as an option to replace it.
In addition to this change, Mozilla also released that as part of an initiative to diversify revenue streams and reduce reliance on funds generated through contracts with search engines, Mozilla prepares to launch a new paid service, MDN Plus, which will complement commercial initiatives such as Mozilla VPN and Firefox Relay Premium.
The launch of the new service is scheduled for March 9. The subscription price will be $10 per month or $100 per year.
Access to the main MDN archive will remain, as before, free. Let us remember that after the dismissal of all the employees in charge of preparing the documentation for Mozilla's MDN, the content of this site is financed by a joint project Open Web Docs, whose sponsors include Google, Igalia, Facebook, JetBrains, Microsoft and Samsung. . Open Web Docs' budget is about $450.000 a year.
Among the differences of MDN Plus, there is an additional feed of articles in the style of hacks.mozilla.org with a deeper analysis of certain topics, the provision of tools for working with offline documentation and customization of work with materials (creating personal collections of articles, subscribing to notifications about changes in articles of interest and adapting the design of the site to your own preferences).
In the first stage, the MDN Plus subscription will be open to users from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Singapore.