Having been thwarted by government antitrust authorities in its bid to invest in Russia last year, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is trying a different approach by signing a search deal with the country’s leading search and email company, Mail.ru, according to Yakov at Quintura, citing sources. We have approached Google for clarification.
Update: Google says it won’t comment on “market rumour and speculation”.
From the start of next year — according to Yakov’s sources — Mail.ru will ditch its current search and contextual advertising provider Yandex in Januay when its contract runs out. The deal will see Google increase its Russian search market share by 60 percent, says Yakov. Mail.ru has a 10 percent share of the Russian search market, followed by Google on 23 percent and Yandex at 58 percent, according to stats from Liveinternet.ru.
Google is desperate to get a bigger foothold in Russia, one of the few European markets where it isn’t the clear market leader, and was stung by a Russian antitrust ruling in 2008 that blocked its proposed $140 million acquisition of Rambler’s Begun contextual ad company. In September Google signed a deal with the Russian blogging site LiveJournal to bring AdSense onto users’ blogs.