Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google - what will they do to our mobiles?

After well over a year of speculation and a “friendly” offer last May, on January 31Microsoft offered up US$44.6 billion big ones to purchase internet powerhouse Yahoo! in an attempt to gather a more solid foothold in the race for internet search engine supremacy against industry front-runner Google. Although it’s more than likely that the buyout will eventually go through, at present the offer is still under consideration. My favorite quote from this ordeal thus far comes from a letter sent by Microsoft to the Yahoo! board of directors:

"Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a credible alternative for consumers, advertisers, and publishers." Steven A. Ballmer – Microsoft Corporation CEO .

Oh, the irony. However, that’s not what I’m looking to focus on today. What piqued my interest was an article in the February 23 edition of the Asahi Shimbun. Aside from a lengthy article outlining search engine market shares with regards to site usage and the profits attained through advertisements via the individual of these “Big 3” competitors, it was a chart pointing out the relations of Japan’s three primary mobile service providers, SoftBank, NTT DoCoMo, and KDDI, and how they are tied to these tech giants. NTT and KDDI both share an alliance with Google in regards to the operation systems utilized in their mobile phone products, while SoftBank has a 3.9% investment in Yahoo!.

Any buyout will affect your internet and mail services. Merging with a company as large Yahoo! will require an insufferable amount of time and energy, quite possibly years, in order to sufficiently restructure, while Google will continue to focus on evolving it’s already seemingly unstoppable ad-driven internet force.

Japan’s internet market sits in a unique position being at the forefront of mobile technology yet still relying on print material for a great deal of information that the citizens of many other developed countries are flocking to their personal computers for. What sort of attention will this keitai-colony receive should the number of dictators over the forces of the internet be reduced to only two?

By Justin Potts

Anna Kitanaka is away

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