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Google Extends Keiretsu to Spotify Board

July 28, 2014

A keiretsu (系列, lit. system, series, grouping of enterprises, order of succession) is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of informal business group. The keiretsu maintained dominance over the Japanese economy for the last half of the 20th century.


When Google’s current Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani mysteriously took a seat on Spotify’s board of directors, this was just the latest in a series of moves extending Google’s dominant business influence throughout the Internet economy.  Google’s current influence is very reminiscent of the Japanese keiretsu, and similar to what Eric “Uncle Sugar” Schmidt calls the “Gang of Four.

This is, of course, a reminder of the typical interlocking boards and investors in the clubby world of Silicon Valley venture capital and technology companies.  Schmidt was essentially forced to resign from Apple’s board after the U.S. Department of Justice opened an antitrust inquiry into Google and Apple.

Mr. Kordestani’s predecessor as Google’s Chief Business Officer is Nikesh Arora (MTP readers will remember Mr. Arora as the guy who screwed up the numbers on Gangnam Style during a Google investor conference call).  Mr. Arora is now Vice Chairman of SoftBank Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc. which recently acquired a majority interest in Sprint.

Then, of course, there’s Marissa Meyer who is now CEO of Yahoo! but was formerly a long time employee at Google.

Not to forget Tim Armstrong, the former head of Google’s US operations and now CEO of AOL.

So Spotify is just another brick in the wall.


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