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Lavenya Dilip

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Canonical ‘s unexpected search deal with Yahoo! Raises Eyebrows

The Ubuntu developer has clinched a profit sharing agreement with Yahoo! similar to what Mozilla has in place with Google.

Ubuntu developer, Canonical, has signed a deal with Yahoo! that makes it the default search provider for Canonical’s Lucid Lynx operating system, the next major release of Ubuntu after version 9.10 Karmic Koala due this April. 

The revenue sharing agreement is very much similar to Mozilla ‘s currently operational one with Google . Yahoo! will offer Canonical a percentage of the profits from ads for all Ubuntu-Yahoo! Searches. Users will of course still have the option of choosing their own default search provider.

This deal is a strategically interesting move for the Open Source company on two fronts and caught many unawares. Until now the Ubuntu Firefox browser has used Google as its default search engine . Canonical and Google have had a good working relationship. In fact it recently revealed that it has been working closely with Google on its Chrome OS platform.

Also Microsoft and Yahoo! struck a deal last year that pending regulatory approval, will provide Microsoft an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!’s core search technologies and Microsoft’s Bing will be the exclusive paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. This means that Canonical which is the prime developer of Linux based Operating systems might have to do business with Microsoft which is often perceived to be anti-Linux.   Of course off late Microsoft has been trying to be a good citizen on the open source front by releasing code to the Linux community and forming the non profit Codeplex Foundation to support open source development. But it still has a long way to go before it can totally win over skeptics.

I guess business takes precedence and sometimes the management has to do right by its goals. The revenue from the deal is expected to aid the Ubuntu community and contribute towards resources to continue the open development Ubuntu Platform .Incidentally it was announced late last year that Mark Shuttleworth who founded the Ubuntu project in 2004 is stepping down as head of Canonical  and his place will be taken by Jane Silber, the current Chief Operating Officer .


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Lavenya Dilip was responsible for Marketing at Green Rack Systems.