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Yandex Starts Own Internet Browser to Challenge Google

Yandex NV, Russia’s largest Internet search engine, is starting its own Web-browser to challenge Google Inc. and prevent a decline in market share.

The brower can be downloaded from 5 p.m. Moscow time today and will get updated “every several weeks,” Chief Executive Officer Arkady Volozh said in Moscow today. The browser, based on the WebKit platform and Google’s Chromium open code, will use software from Kaspersky Lab to test for viruses and Opera Software ASA’s Turbo technology to download pages faster.

The browser may help Yandex to defend its market share. The company’s share of Russian Internet searches dropped to 60.6 percent last month from a peak of 65 percent in February 2011. In the same period, the search share of Google rose to 26.6 percent from 21.4 percent as the share of its Chrome browser surged to 25.9 percent from 9.6 percent.

In Russia, Europe’s largest Internet market by the number of users, Opera is the most popular browser with 30 percent market share, while Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer account for about 19 and 14 percent respectively, according to researcher Apple’s Safari accounts for 9 percent.

Yandex wants its new browser to reach significant market share and “stand in one row” with the main competitors, Tigran Khudaverdyan, head of mobile services at Yandex, said in an interview.

The program could become the default browser on some mobile handsets, depending on future partnerships with manufacturers, Khudaverdyan said.

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