Report: Apple inks iOS maps alliance with Yandex, search deal in the works
Yandex will power mobile mapping services for the Russian market when Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iOS 6 operating system rolls out to the country's consumers Wednesday, and reports say Yandex could soon replace Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as Apple's default Russian mobile search partner as well.
Citing sources close to the situation, TechCrunch reports Apple and Yandex are negotiating an agreement to incorporate Yandex search services directly into the Russian version of the Safari mobile browser. This past weekend, Russian bloggers discovered Yandex's geosearch API integrated into the iOS 6 Golden Master, seeded to registered developers last week--The Wall Street Journal reports anyone using an iOS6-based device in Russia will now receive Yandex map information, and consumers outside of Russia seeking mapping insight about the nation will be fed Yandex data as well.
A Yandex spokesperson declined to comment on the Apple deal. The firm accounts for a little more than 60 percent of all Russian search traffic although Google is gaining ground and now accounts for 22 percent of the market.
The Yandex agreement continues Apple's efforts to reduce the iOS platform's reliance on Google services. iOS 6, which powers the forthcoming iPhone 5, dumps Google Maps data in favor of Apple's new in-house Maps feature. Google Maps could lose up to a third of its mobile users with the launch of Apple's alternative service, according to research firm Analysys Mason. Earlier this year, Apple also replaced Google with Baidu as its default mobile search provider in China.
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