Russia's search engine Yandex said Monday it has purchased map licenses from Nokia subsidiary Navteq to develop detailed world maps for its Yandex.Maps service. The maps from Europe, North America, Australia and Asia will show city roads, urban traffic networks, streets and buildings.
Using the Yandex.Maps API, Web site owners can embed maps of various countries on their sites. Yandex had purchased map data of Turkey from Navteq. Now it plans to add content to desktop and mobile applications that supports all major platforms.
Changes point to declining market share for Yandex, as it tries to hold onto its market share in Russia. Since last summer, Yandex's search market share slipped from about 65% to 60% today, conceding to Google. The company managed to grab 26% of market share in Russia, up from 22%, according to Piper Jaffray, citing Liveinternet.ru.
"In December, Yandex's share had stabilized slightly above 60%, but some have noted that Yandex appears to have lost some slight share through the holidays, touching 59.4% in the first week of January," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note, admitting that shares bounced back to roughly 60% in the following week.
Munster believes this "slight blip" in share during the holidays was likely a seasonal change from reduced overall search volume and not necessarily a continuation of the share loss trend.
The map data from Navteq should become the pedestal for mobile and local services. Last year, Yandex stepped up efforts to support mobile users. The search engine became the default for the Windows Phone operating system in Russia.
Although Windows has a minor market share in Russia, Munster believes Microsoft will eventually make a significant push and gain some share globally. The search engine also acquired SPB Software, which has a solution for a mobile phone interface. The move could help Yandex compete better with Google's Android.