Let's start with the Canonical-Yahoo relationship. Specifically, Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) will use Yahoo.com as its default search engine. Why's that? The simple answer: Money. According to Canonical's Rick Spencer:
"I am pursuing this change because Canonical has negotiated a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! and this revenue will help Canonical to provide developers and resources to continue the open development of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Platform. This change will help provide these resources as well as continuing to respect our user's default search across Firefox."I don't know how much money the Yahoo relationship will potentially send Canonical's way. But I think it's an intriguing move. And users who prefer alternative search engines can easily change their browser's settins.
Still, here's where things get extra interesting. Canonical may find a way to profit from both Yahoo and Google. As we reported in October 2009, Canonical is under contract to help Google develop Chrome OS.
So there you have it. Instead of getting caught in a search engine shoot-out, Canonical could gain revenue from both Google and Yahoo. How much? It's impossible for me to say. But it's a heck of a balancing act by Canonical.