Yandex N.V. (//; Russian: Яндекс, IPA: [ˈjandəks]) is a Russian multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related products and services, including transportation, search and information services, eCommerce, navigation, mobile applications, and online advertising. Yandex provides over 70 services in total. Incorporated in the Netherlands, Yandex primarily serves audiences in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The company founders and most of the team members are located in Russia. The company has 18 commercial offices worldwide. It is the largest technology company in Russia and the largest search engine on the internet in Russian, with a market share of over 52%. The Yandex.ru home page is the 4th most popular website in Russia. It also has the largest market share of any search engine in the Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and is the 5th largest search engine worldwide after Google, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo!.
Yandex traces its roots to 1990, when Arkady Volozh and Arkady Borkovsky founded Arkadia, a company that developed MS-DOS software for use in patents and goods classification. Their software featured a full-text search with Russian morphology support. In 1993, Arkadia became a subdivision of Comptek International, another company founded by Volozh in 1989.
In 1993, Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich, friends since their school days and by then working together to develop search software, invented the word "Yandex" to describe their search technologies. The name initially stood for "Yet Another iNDEXer". The Russian word "Я" ("Ya") corresponds to the English personal pronoun "I", making "Яndex" a bilingual pun on "index". Another pun is based on the yin and yang contrast (Russian: инь – индекс, ян – яндекс).
Between 1993 and 1996, the company continued developing its search technologies and released software for searching through the Bible.
The Yandex.ru search engine was launched on September 23, 1997, and was publicly presented at the Softool exhibition in Moscow. Initially, the search engine was developed by Comptek. In 2000, Yandex was incorporated as a standalone company by Arkady Volozh.
In 1998, Yandex launched contextual advertisement on its search engine.
The company became profitable in November 2002. In 2004, Yandex sales increased to $17 million, up 1000% in 2 years. The net income of the company in 2004 was $7 million. In June 2006, the weekly revenue of Yandex.Direct context ads system exceeded $1 million. The company's accounting has been audited by Deloitte since 1999.
In September 2005, Yandex opened an office in Ukraine and launched www.yandex.ua. In 2007, Yandex introduced a customized search engine for Ukrainian users; Yandex also opened its development center in Kiev in May 2007. In 2008, Yandex extended its presence in Ukraine by increasing bandwidth between Moscow data centers and UA-IX in Ukraine fivefold. In 2009, all services of www.yandex.ua were localized for the Ukrainian market. In 2010, Yandex launched its "Poltava" search engine algorithm for Ukrainian users, based on its MatrixNet technology.
On June 16, 2008, Yandex acquired SMILink, a Russian road traffic monitoring agency, to merge it with Yandex. Maps services.
In September 2008, Yandex acquired the rights to the Punto Switcher software program, an automatic Russian to English keyboard layout switcher.
In August 2009, Yandex introduced a player of free legal music in its search results.
In September 2010, Yandex launched the Yandex Music service and significantly extended its music catalogue to 800,000 tracks from 58,000 performers.
In December 2010, Yandex launched Yandex.Start to find startups and to work with them systematically. As a result of the program, Yandex purchased WebVisor's behavior analysis technology in December 2010.
On January 26, 2011, Yandex introduced premium placement opportunity in its Business directory; advertisers' local small businesses are highlighted on a map for relevant queries.
On January 27, 2011, the company acquired single sign-in service Loginza.
On May 3, 2011, as part of a disclosure on the "legal and political risks" of investing in Russia, before the listing on NASDAQ, Yandex revealed that it had passed private customer information to the Federal Security Service, including that of users who had donated money via Yandex to an anti-corruption website set-up by Alexei Navalny.
On May 24, 2011, Yandex raised $1.3 billion in an initial public offering on NASDAQ. It was the biggest initial public offering for a dot-com company since Google's offering in 2004. Among the largest investors in Yandex were Baring Vostok Capital Partners, which owned a 30% stake, and Tiger Management, which owned a 15% stake.
In August 2011, Yandex acquired The Tweeted Times, a news delivery startup.
In September 2011, Yandex launched a search engine and a range of other services in Turkey. The company also opened an office in Istanbul.
In 2013, Yandex became the largest media property in Russia by revenue.
On June 1, 2017, Yandex closed its offices in Kiev and Odessa, Ukraine after the Security Service of Ukraine raided the offices and accused the company of illegally collecting Ukrainian users’ data and sending it to Russian security agencies. Yandex denied any wrongdoing.
In May 2017, all Yandex services were banned in Ukraine by Presidential Decree No. 133/2017.
In 2017, within the framework of a joint anti-phishing project of the Bank of Russia and search engine Yandex, a special check mark (a green circle with a tick and 'Реестр ЦБ РФ' (Bank of Russia Register) text box) appeared in the search results, informing the consumer that the website is really owned by a legally registered company licensed by the Bank of Russia.
On February 7, 2018, Uber and Yandex NV merged their businesses in Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and Georgia. Uber invested $225 million and owns 36.6% stake in the venture while Yandex invested $100 million and owns a 59.3% stake.
In May 2018, Sberbank and Yandex completed joint venture deal to develop a B2C eCommerce ecosystem.
In October 2018, Yandex acquired Edadil (Russian: Едадил, lit. "grocery deals"), a deal aggregator service.
In October and November 2018, Yandex was targeted in a cyberattack using the Regin malware, aimed at stealing technical information from its research and development unit on how users were authenticated. An investigation by Kaspersky Lab attributed the hacks to Five Eyes intelligence agencies.
In June 2019, RBC News reported that Yandex had refused a request by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) under the Yarovaya law to surrender encryption keys that could decrypt the private data of its e-mail service and cloud storage users. The company argued that it was possible to comply with the relevant law without compromising its users' privacy. Maxim Akimov, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, said that the government will take action to relieve FSB pressure on the company. Alexander Zharov, head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, subsequently said that Yandex and the FSB had reached an agreement where the company could provide the required data without handing over the encryption keys.
On 20 April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia, Yandex announced that it would make its home coronavirus testing service free of charge for all residents of Moscow and nearby of all ages and will be available to other regions in the future. Previously, it announced the launch of the service on 16 April.
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