Here’s a (hopefully toy) cat to toss amongst the pigeons – Microsoft is rumoured to be eyeing up a deal that would make Bing the default search engine in Mozilla Firefox.
The rumour, by way of The Information, claims senior Microsoft execs hope to seal a deal with Mozilla to make Bing the default search engine as soon as this year, as the browser’s existing big-bucks deal with Google is coming up for renewal.
Now, Firefox making a search engine switch isn’t new. Mozilla tested Microsoft’s Bing as Firefox’s default search engine back back in 2021; and those with longer memories may just remember a time when Yahoo! was the default search engine in select countries.
Despite Firefox’s modest marketshare these days (sob) the browser remains an important part of the web landscape. It is a free, open-source alternative to Google Chrome across platforms, and a technical and ideologically counterpoint to the encroaching Chromium-based monoculture.
Plus, Firefox remains one of the most widely used web browsers on Linux. That makes any search engine switch a veritable “hot button” issues among FOSS fans (who it’s fair to say, view Microsoft with suspicious eyes at best).
But with Bing boasting AI-powered features these days — something Google is hot on the tails of, as per this week’s I/O event — there’s arguably never been as much interest in Bing as there is now. Might that momentum help tips the scales in its favour with Mozilla?
It’ll certainly need to offer something other than just more money for a switch like this to stick — the Yahoo! deal was incredibly short-lived due, in part, to Firefox users ignoring the default and making Google the default anyway.
What do you think? Would you be okay with this, or do you think Mozilla just retain the status quo?