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TOKYO-By spending more than $1 billion on U.S.-based trade shows in the past six months-including last week's purchase of the Comdex shows from the Interface Group for $800 million-Japan's version of Bill Gates actually may have presented computer companies with more choices, not less.

Masayoshi Son, 37, is president, CEO and founder of Softbank Corp., Japan's largest distributor of package software and peripherals and the biggest publisher of computer-related magazines and books there.

The move does offer the possibility of merging Interface operations with some of the Ziff-Davis trade shows, acquired by Softbank in October for $202 million.

But industry experts said they believe the massive Comdex show won't be the command performance it has been under Interface founder Sheldon Adelson, thus giving marketers more freedom to choose which shows they want to attend.

Softbank's sales are expected to total $900 million in the fiscal year ending in March; Mr. Son owns 70% of the company.

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