Last week, AOL and DoCoMo announced a major strategic alliance, but few techno-journos were blindsided by the news. Rumors had been floating since early summer, and the potential benefits were fairly easy to digest. Savvy scribes had probably already put together rough drafts. It was just a matter of plugging the requisite quotes from company executives and industry insiders.

Don't sit back and yawn just yet, however. This could get interesting.

For those who missed the front-page headlines, it was announced that NTT DoCoMo would buy a 42.3 percent stake in AOL Japan and that the companies would align their fixed and mobile platforms. In subsequent announcements, DoCoMo said that it would eventually list AOL Japan and promote AOL as its preferred ISP.