Yandex, the Russian digital giant whose Nasdaq stock trading has been suspended since February 28, laid off over two dozen US-based workers last month, reported The Verge as cited by East-West Digital News (EWDN).
Yandex had been operating a small fleet of driverless cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Yandex said the vehicle licences were suspended by the state authorities – which Michigan denies.
Soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, Yandex paused autonomous vehicle testing in Ann Arbor. Robotised food deliveries in several college campuses – in Ann Arbor as well as Ohio and Arizona – were also suspended less than one year after these experiments started.
Meanwhile in Estonia, the authorities banned the taxi and delivery service Yandex Go. To justify their decision, the authorities cited “a serious threat to Estonia’s security”, as Russia’s Ministry of Transport recently proposed to transfer taxi service data to the FSB. The ban will take effect on April 11, reported Estonian media Postimees.
“To use the Yandex application, you need to provide access to a large amount of personal data that is processed on the company’s servers in Russia and can be used in intelligence activities against Estonia and Europe. In today’s political situation, this is a serious threat to Estonia’s security,” said Andres Sutt, Estonia’s Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
Latvia made a similar move a week earlier, targeting Yandex Taxi and Yandex Go. According to the BNS new agency cited by Interfax, the local road authority motivated its decision by the fact that the data generated by these services are stored on Russian services, posing a threat to national security.
Yandex’s problems are not limited to the Baltic states. The company’s rapid grocery unit Yango Deli is “exploring strategic shifts for its businesses in the UK and France,” according to Bloomberg. The UK business could be sold, while the French subsidiary could simply shut down, unnamed sources told the news agency.
“The ultrafast delivery market in London is highly competitive and we see a considerable amount of interest in our business there, including from peers. However, we can’t provide any further details on this at the moment,” Bloomberg quoted a Yango Deli spokesperson as saying.
Yango Deli launched in London in October 2021, opening four dark stores across the city to “cover some 1.4mn potential customers.”
This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a bne IntelliNews partner publication.