In an interview with Nikkei Business Online, Yahoo President Masahiro Inoue said that Google is not so great, and implied that Yahoo Japan has done great things while staying in the law. This comment may be a reference to Streetview which is one of Google’s most popular products in Japan, and for which Yahoo Japan has no competing service. There is also mention of Yahoo Book Search which was strongly opposed by publishing companies in Japan.
(A little NewzJapan commentary here: This is partially because of how powerful Japanese companies are, their relationships with the government and media, and how they stick together. Sometimes it seems like it’s the companies competing with the customers except for a few companies like Ikea and Uniqlo that have come in with non-traditional business plans and found success.)
Although Yahoo is still king in Japan in the search market, internationally savvy Google has been making headway with useful products such as the YouTube, Streetview, Gmail, Google Sketchup, and especially the new Google Japanese Language Input System.
Some people have commented that this could be a last ditch attempt to try to hold off Google’s gradually increasing success in Japan, and Yahoo Japan’s weakening.
Inoue mentions that Yahoo has put out some amazing products recently but mentions none by name.
Google has been gradually gaining ground in Japan thanks mostly to solid products and a growing knowledge of what niches have still not been filled by other companies in the Japanese market., all the while growing in its bread and butter search field.