Toyota, Japan’s biggest car maker by volume, plans to sell more than 1 million subcompacts in more than 100 countries and regions, such as China, Southeast Asia, India and Brazil, by 2015.
Toyota does not have many other places to go for expansion. The European markets are nearly dead. China’s market has slowed considerably. Toyota’s sales have picked up a great deal in America, but the market has become progressively more competitive as U.S. car companies has been revived and large firms, including Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes, have aggressively exploited the one region in which they have an ongoing chance for rising sales volume.
A New Web Browser
For some reason, Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) wants to be in the crowded web browser arena. Its new product is called Axis. It is meant to compete with Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch products. But Apple already has its own Safari browser. And the industry is controlled by Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer, Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chrome, and Firefox. It is a good guess that Yahoo! wants to use Axis to move further into mobile search, but it already has lost most of that market to Google. And there is no reason for the great majority of users to switch from their preferred browser when they move from computer to portable device.
Galaxy S3’s U.S. Launch
The wildly successful Samsung Galaxy S III will be available in the United States starting on June 1. But the first wave of handsets will not be sold by carriers. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) will sell the new Galaxy without a wireless contract. Wireless companies underwrite the costs of smartphones because they get two-year subscriptions from customers. Amazon will sell the Galaxy S III for $800. The product will be “unlocked” so it can be used on a number of networks. There is some debate over whether its powerful processor is set to work on superfast 4G LTE networks, or if a less-powerful processor will be required to operate on those systems. The Samsung Galaxy is widely regarded as the primary competitor to the Apple iPhone 4S, so early sales in the U.S. will prove whether that perception is true.
MSNBC.com Buyout Talks
Comcast’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBCUniversal operations is in talks with Microsoft to takeover the part of MSNBC.com that it does not already own. The rumor was reported in Adweek. Microsoft may not want to part with the stake. NBC could use it as a portal to increase traffic to its media sites. But Microsoft has its large MSN.com operation, which has a close relationship with MSNBC.com. As Microsoft works to drive traffic to its Bing search engine, MSNBC.com is strategically important.
Douglas A. McIntyre