Japanese iPhone negotiations (and LucasFilm cards)

Hajimemashite! IT Blogwatch noh. Richi Jennings desu. Dozo yoroshiku. It looks like Steve Jobs is trying to get the iPhone into Japan: possibly the world's most difficult mobile phone market for foreigners to enter. Not to mention 30 years of LucasFilm Christmas cards...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Apple Inc. has been in talks with several Japanese mobile service companies, including NTT DoCoMo Inc. and SoftBank Mobile Corp., as it searches for a partner before introducing the iPhone [in Japan] ... DoCoMo is Japan's leading mobile service provider, with a claimed market share of over 53%, while SoftBank is the country's third-largest cell phone network. [more]

Jacqui Cheng yells, "Harajuku, here we come":

Japan is notorious for being far more advanced than the US when it comes to the world of mobile phones. This can [be] hard to challenge with a lowly phone from the west, no matter how cool it may seem to us plebes ... however, these are only talks—talks that could easily break down at any time. [more]

Ohayoh, John Murrell:

Apple has been talking to both DoCoMo, Japan’s top carrier, and Softbank, now running third, about the usual exclusive iPhone deal with the usual hard-to-swallow revenue-sharing terms ... DoCoMo President Masao Nakamura reportedly had a face-to-face with Steve Jobs in San Francisco earlier this month, but managed to resist the Reality Distortion Field and hold firm, at least for the moment. [more]

Thomas Ricker sees it as proof that a 3G iPhone is on the way:

NTT DoCoMo does not run a GSM / EDGE network. Any iPhone released on DoCoMo's FOMA service will be UMTS / HSDPA -- right, the 3G iPhone. [more]

MG Siegler agrees:

I doubt the Japanese public would take a second look at an iPhone if it only ran at EDGE speeds (whereas we over in the U.S. are used to our crappy connection speeds). ... This is big news because well, Japan is the world's 2nd largest economy and has a culture geared towards gadget-obsession. [more]

Douglas McIntyre runs the numbers:

It would not be far-fetched to think that Apple could sell 5 million iPhones in Japan within a year or two of the launch. If deals in the U.S. and Europe are any indication, the big U.S. consumer electronics company could get as much as $400 for each handset and a piece of the calling plan revenue from its local carrier. [more]

John Paczkowski talks funny:

They say you need to know about 2,000 different kanji pictograms in order to read a Japanese newspaper. So how the hell is Apple going to adapt the iPhone’s virtual keyboard for modern Japanese? We’ll have the answer soon enough ... In order to meet its goal of gaining a 1% share of the global cellphone business by the end of 2008, Apple must bring the iPhone to market in Japan. [more]

Last word to Fake Steve:

This story claims that we've been meeting with Japanese wireless carriers (I'll confirm that) but that iPhone might not be so popular in Japan because they've already got some really cool phones there. This is just what people said about iPhone in Europe, too. And how'd that work out? [more]

Go seicho arigato gozaimasu! [You're fired -Ed.]

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

Other Computerworld bloggers:

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

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