Yandex has officially become the default search engine on Windows Phone-based handsets in Russia. Russia's largest search engine has entered a partnership with both Microsoft and many major phone manufacturers including Nokia, Samsun and HTC.
Yandex is already installed on the Samsung Omnia W and is coming installed on a few Nokia models in early December. HTC has already announced updates for several of its existing handsets that will roll out to a few of their recent power smartphones.
Yandex, who powers two-thirds of the searches in Russia, has already developed its Windows Phone apps for search, maps, and Yandex Market, a product search app for comparison shopping.
“Windows Phone is a new operating system with great potential. It is bound to catch attention in Russia. It’s good to know that the Windows Phone users in this country will have familiar Yandex search on their new devices,” said Tigran Khudaverdyan, Head of Web Portal and Mobile Services at Yandex. “The range of apps we have already developed for this platform includes Yandex.Maps and Yandex.Market and we will continue our effort to expand this range.”
Coming at a time where Bing is not turning a profit and looking to gain more US market share, this announcement may appear surprising on the surface. However, as a mobile operating platform, Windows Phone is also being left behind, shadowed by iPhone and Android handsets. Microsoft officially launched Windows Phone in Russia earlier this year. Taking the "when in Rome" approach, partnering with the Russian search giant makes sense to gain a foothold in as they enter this new market.
"Launching Windows Phone in Russia, our goal was to provide our customers in this country with the latest version of a mobile operating system integrated with the most popular local web services and social networks. Now we are pleased to announce that the services of our strategic partner Yandex will appear on a wide range of smartphones supporting Windows Phone," says Anna Kulashova, Director of Mobile Carriers and Service Providers Development at Microsoft.