Google buys stake in Israeli start-up Maxthon - report

TechCrunch: The $1 million investment is part of a much larger strategic deal.

Technology blog TechCrunch reports that Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) has acquired a minority stake in the Israeli-Chinese start-up Maxthon International Ltd., the developer of the Maxthon Browser, for $1 million, and that the investment is part of a much larger strategic deal between the two companies.

TechCrunch said, The deal was apparently done at least two months ago, but the companies have delayed releasing the news. Weve contacted Netanel Jacobsson at Maxthon about this story, but he has declined to comment. We also have an email into Google PR for comment.

Jacobsson told Globes, Its true that we entered into a strategic deal with Google a few months ago, which includes all kinds of search activity, and adapting the browser for Google services. Until now, certain services were not adapted, such as the Google toolbar. We intend to cooperate, and build interesting integrations that will be transferable through the browser.

The Maxthon Browser was developed in China, specifically for that market. TechCrunch says, At the very least we expect the strategic deal to involve replacing the default search option in the browser from the Baidu search engine in China and Yahoo in other countries with Google search. The deal may also go beyond search and involve integration with other Google services directly into the browser. Maxthon would then be promoted on Google as a preferred browserMaxthon has had over 80 million downloads of its browser, and over half of its users are in China. Maxthon-originated searches may account for up to 25% of total Baidu traffic, according to one source.

Jacobsson told Globes, Baidu is a very important partner for us. Were working with them and well continue to do so. Were keeping good relations with them.

Maxthon has raised $6 million to date. Seed financing came from Morten Lund and WI Harper in March 2005, and CRV invested around $5 million in the company in March 2006.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 10, 2007

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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