Mozilla is currently testing Microsoft's Bing as the default search engine for Firefox according to its latest SUMO study announcement for the month of September. The post states that since the 6th of this month, about 1% of the total Firefox desktop user base has been subjected to this early testing. Mozilla expects this testing phase to continue for about five months and be completed by January next year.
From Sept 6, 2021 1% of the Desktop user base will be experimenting with Bing as the default search engine. The study will last into early 2022, likely wrapping up by the end of January.
For those unfamiliar, SUMO stands for SUpport.MOzilla.org and according to the browser giant, these studies are "a part of optimizing the Firefox experience" for all users. A list of "Completed studies" is available for viewing if you run "about:studies" in the browser's address bar.
While we aren't sure why Mozilla may want to replace Google as the default search engine for Firefox with Bing, German blogger Sören Hentzschel speculates that the Mozilla team could be experimenting with Microsoft's Bing for the future as the current Mozilla-Google search deal is expected to end next year. So Bing might be the safety net for Mozilla in case the search contract with Google isn't extended further.
Via: Sören Hentzschel