Yandex picked up the phone – Kommersant newspaper No. 204 (6684) of 11/07/2019

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Retail chains completely sold Yandex.Telephone smartphones. According to Kommersant’s sources, over the entire time of sales, customers have activated only 18 thousand smartphones. The device turned out to be a niche product with a number of technical flaws, experts say. Yandex is discussing various options for the development of the direction, but is not yet ready to announce the release of a new version of the smartphone.

Russian retailers completed sales of Yandex.Telephone, Kommersant found out. Sellers have stopped posting ads on its sale on Yandex.Market since last week. Information about the sale of a single sample of Yandex.Telephone for 6995 rubles. disappeared from the M. Video website on the evening of November 6. The phone was sold out in retail stores, Kommersant confirmed in the press service of Yandex.

Sales of Yandex.Telephone started on December 6, 2018 in the Yandex store at a price of 17,990 rubles. The device was also sold in M.Video — Eldorado, VimpelCom stores, Beru online store (a joint venture of Yandex and Sberbank), DNS, and others. After the start of sales, retailers reported weak demand. In February 2019, the price of Yandex.Telephone was reduced by 4 thousand rubles, and in June the networks began to sell it for 9990 rubles.

"Yandex.Telephone as a whole aroused interest throughout the year. But at the same time, it remained rather a niche offer against the background of already popular brands, ”a representative of VimpelCom told Kommersant.

According to her, the peak of sales came in August, when the price was reduced to 7990 rubles. In August, 5.5 thousand Yandex.Telephones were sold in telecom operators' salons, and 4.5 thousand were sold in September, a Kommersant source familiar with their data said. According to him, over the entire period of sales in communication networks, 18 thousand Yandex.Telephones have been activated. For comparison: according to GS Group, Samsung only imported 4.9 million smartphones to Russia in the first half of 2019, and for example, the Russian brand Inoi – 869 thousand phones, including push-button phones.

From December 2018 to May of the current year, the number of Yandex.Telephone activations on the Tele2 network averaged 130 per month, the operator’s press service said. Tele2 also recorded a peak in August – 2.3 thousand activations per month. From January to October, almost 5 thousand Yandex.Telephones were registered in the MegaFon network, the company said.

Boris Dobrodeev, CEO of Mail.ru Group, in an interview with Kommersant on June 6

Why produce your smartphone when the market is already saturated, there are a large number of successful manufacturers. Suppose we occupy 5-10% of the market. How will this help us?

The vice president of procurement and business development of the Svyaznoy Mikhail Komkov disagrees with the thesis about the commercial failure of the smartphone.

“Throughout sales in our network, we have seen steady demand. We have already sold the entire batch and are discussing various options for cooperation, ”said Mr. Komkov. In M.Video — Eldorado, sales met expectations, the retailer said.

At Yandex itself, the smartphone is considered a successful experiment.

“We relied primarily on the software component: we wanted to show how the Yandex ecosystem can work in its optimal form when Alice is built directly into the hardware. And we managed to show the market in which direction we can work with smartphone manufacturers, ”the company’s press service noted. They added that, according to the results of the project, various options for the development of the direction are being discussed, but are not yet ready to share exact plans.

In the third quarter of 2019, Yandex revenue from the sale of gadgets, including Yandex.Station and Yandex.Telephone, amounted to 278 million rubles, follows from the company's statements, this direction made a negative contribution to EBITDA of 202 million rubles.

The costs of Yandex for the development and manufacture of a smartphone and associated costs amounted to 300 million rubles., Estimates analyst Mobile Research Group Eldar Murtazin. He considers the positioning and pricing policy of Yandex with regard to the smartphone to be "initially incorrect." In his opinion, the “Chinese industrial” design of the device did not arouse interest among consumers, and a number of flaws in the software part led to the fact that the second camera in the smartphone did not work. “As a result, we managed to sell only one batch of devices – 20 thousand, while the discount on the purchase price amounted to about 50%,” he says. Yandex does not make sense to develop this direction, the analyst is categorical.

Yandex entered the market with an average technical smartphone, an unknown brand in this market and a price higher than its foreign counterparts, said Telecom Daily CEO Denis Kuskov. Nevertheless, it makes sense for the company to try itself in different areas, the expert believes, and for the success of the second phone, if it is, it will be the “optimal price characteristic” that is important.

Julia Stepanova, Julia Tishina, Dmitry Shestoperov

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