Yandex takes on Google with SPB software

Michael Carroll
01 Mar 2012

SPB software is adding a new dimension to Russian web giant Yandex’s business, enabling the firm to compete head-on with Google by offering mobile services in addition to its traditional fixed-line business.

The firm is the largest search engine in Russia and other CES markets, with a 60% market share, however its acquisition of SPB means it is now moving many services into a mobile setting, Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, the firm’s general manager and executive vice president of mobile says.

“We enable a long list of applications for mobile,” Schmidt told, referencing applications such as location-based services, which he says are helping the firm maintain its lead over Google in Russia.

Schmidt is confident SPB won’t lose its mobile DNA as a result of the takeover, but says it won’t be a “company within a company” either. The launch of 3D shells for tablet PCs during the Mobile World Congress this week is a good example of what he means. The new skins are an extension of technology the firm has already deployed for smartphones, and aim to push the boundaries of graphic user interfaces beyond 2D icons that are common on most modern devices.

The skins are attracting mobile operators keen to maintain some brand identity on the devices on their network, Schmidt explains, and the increasing standardization around one or two major operating systems is making life easier. “Older phones were difficult to develop for. They would have a different implementation of Java or variations in processing power. Today it is much easier.”

Giving operators some control over the look and feel of devices is opening the door to some of the most expensive real estate in the world, Schmidt believes, noting that a smartphone’s home screen doesn’t differentiate between the applications and services offered. “The home screen is truly equal,” he said.


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