Russia's Yandex turns 15 hoping for iPhone deal

Russia's ambitious search engine Yandex turned 15 on Sunday having staved off a challenge from Google and is now coveting the elusive prize of becoming the default map provider of Apple's iconic iPhones.

The world's fifth-largest Internet index and Russia's answers provider of choice has the country's most popular website with more than 25 million visits per day.

It has also set out its global ambitions with a 2011 New York listing -- the largest initial US placement of stock since Google went public in 2004 -- and plans to build on services that already range from e-mail to market reports.

"We are looking at growth wherever there is no competition. So everywhere outside the United States, China, Korea and Japan," company founder and chief executive Arkady Volozh said this summer.

"Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, the Moon, Mars -- we are potentially interested in all that," the 48-year-year old said, with a mischievous sense of humour that belies his serious grounding in computer science.

One of the era's myriad of Internet startups did the smart thing quickly by picking up contextual advertising in 1998 and then turning a profit just as the dot-com bubble was bursting its rivals were leaving the market in tears.

But things began looking ominous again by the time Google opened its first Moscow office in 2006. It had launched its service five years earlier to poor reviews and a seeming inability to tackle the many complexities of Russian.

Google began conjugating its Russian verbs and localising services before winning recognition from some of the local Internet crowd.

The US giant has since managed to slowly drag up its Russian share to a quarter of all searches -- a figure that still leaves Yandex unflinchingly holding on to at least 60 percent of all queries.

That leaves Volozh confident of continued success at home and a nagging feeling that much more could be done with a company based in one of the world's main meccas of computer science and applied mathematics training.

One of the most promising and prestigious moves would be a broad partnership with Apple and its legion of loyal and upgrade-ready fans.

"We try to talk to all the big players and Apple is definitely one of them," Volozh said elusively in one of his last major Russian-language interviews in July.

"We might have a few technologies that could pique their interest."

The big rumour on the market and among users is that Yandex will pop open when clients search the new map service of Apple's latest iPhone -- a piece of sleek equipment that ignores answers provided by its Google rival.

The reported tie-up works only in Russia and has not seen a formal agreement disclosed by either. Analysts said Apple has long preferred to keep its methods private and is urging Yandex not to talk about a possible deal.

But the Russian tech world is abuzz with anticipation.

"This is the first time that Apple has integrated the technology of a (private) Russian company," an excited market source told Gazeta.ru a few days before the new iPhone 5's release in New York.

Yandex's ability to build a better bond with the world's biggest IT darling may well depend on what it now does to move outside the Russian market and establish a presence in countries where Apple is expecting its best sales.

And that currently hinges on Turkey -- an economically booming Eurasian nation that Volozh has designated as the place where Yandex will try to localise service and compete with both local and world firms.

"Until we prove that this is a working model, we are not even going to think about the rest," Volozh said firmly.

"Turkey is our testing range. And if it works, we will figure out what to do."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options