The Japanese government is nervous about Google (GOOG). Trade officials in the country worry that, with their hardware advantage lost to companies in Korea, Taiwan, and China, it will also end up with no edge in the fast-growing search software business.
That lead has already gone to GOOG on the PC. So, the Japanese government is pulling together several major consumer electronics companies to work on search software for handsets and other devices.
According to the FT: "Tokyo hopes to use Japan’s strength in developing devices, such as mobile phones and car navigation systems, to create proprietary search and information retrieval functions" "The Japanese project is comprised of 10 partnerships, each tasked with a specific next-generation search function."
Already in the mix are Sony (SNE), Toyota (TM), NEC (NIPNY) NTT Data, and Hitachi (HIT).
Catching Google through committee work by big companies and the Japanese government.
Douglas A. McIntyre