Multiple sources are confirming that the Chinese/Israeli startup behind the Maxthon Browser has sold a minority stake to Google. The total investment size is rumored to be around $1 million. We are also hearing that this investment is part of a “much larger strategic deal” between the two companies.
Maxthon 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.
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 browser.
The deal was apparently done at least two months ago, but the companies have delayed releasing the news. We’ve contacted Netanel Jacobsson at Maxthon about this story, but he has declined to comment. We also have an email into Google PR for comment.
Maxthon has raised less than $6 million prior to this investment. Seed financing came from Morten Lund and WI Harper in March 2005, and CRV invested around $5 million in the company in March 2006.