Wireless Watch: Mulling a three-point mobile merger in Japan

For smaller companies trying to plant a stake in the ground of larger, more established companies, one strategy is simply to team up. That's what three small well-known players in mobile phones could soon announce in Japan, as NEC, Hitachi (HIT), and Casio Computer discuss combining their mobile-handset operations.

In the deal, NEC could take a stake of more than 50 percent in Casio Hitachi Mobile Communications, a joint venture created in 2004. The result would be a cell-phone manufacturer second to Sharp Corp. but still dauntingly competitive. As of the end of March, the three had a combined market share of 20.2 percent in Japan, according to research firm BCN -- compared with Sharp's 21.8 percent share.