Print 10 comment(s) - last by afkrotch.. on Dec 20 at 7:33 AM

DoCoMo wants to become the official provider of the Apple iPhone in Japan

Apple is in negotiations with NTT DoCoMo, the top mobile phone carrier in Japan, but the two sides are unable to reach a subscriber revenue agreement.  Japan has nearly 100 million mobile phone subscribers and DoCoMo controls a bit more than 50 percent of the market.

Apple claimed it would launch the iPhone in Asian nations during 2008, but did not offer any further details.  A successful launch on the competitive and lucrative Japanese mobile market could temporarily silence all iPhone critics.

Since the current iPhone wouldn't work in Japan, a possible phone launch would include the 3G iPhone, which the AT&T CEO promised will be available in the U.S. sometime next year.

DoCoMo President Masao Nakamura held a meeting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs in San Francisco in early December, with a possible iPhone launch in Japan being the most important topic of discussion. If a deal between Apple and DoCoMo cannot be reached in a timely matter, it is possible Softbank Mobile may become the likely candidate for Apple to sign with.

Apple has deals with AT&T in America, O2 in the United Kingdom, T-Mobile in Germany and Orange Wireless in France.  Apple and China Mobile are negotiating contract issues to offer the service in China - but China Mobile also has problems with revenue sharing numbers provided by Apple.

The iPhone has had relatively good sales, but some Wall Street analysts are still not convinced of the iPhone's dominance in the cell phone market.

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it's not gonna work here
By Nyu on 12/19/2007 10:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
I'm in Tokyo atm. The networks and mobiles here are far ahead anything in europe or the US, by a very large gap. I don't think it makes any sense trying to sell the iphone here.

RE: it's not gonna work here
By intogamer on 12/19/2007 10:55:39 AM , Rating: 2
hence 3G iPhone will be launched there....

RE: it's not gonna work here
By cochy on 12/19/2007 11:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
He's not speaking about the network but the actual phones. I was in Japan a few years ago. Their cell phones there are vastly different than anywhere else. Plus Japanese like everything small, the iPhone will be too large for them. Not too mention very strange looking. Does the iPhone do video conferencing? They enjoy that function. Last but not least, American electronics are typically not well received there, in general.

RE: it's not gonna work here
By afkrotch on 12/19/2007 1:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
I use to live in Japan. I bought a Docomo P901is back in 2005. I moved to Germany and severly miss my P901is. European and US cell phones suck. The iPhone sucks.

I'm sorry, but my P901is had gps, texting, camera, video teleconferencing, mp3 playback, video playback, can be used to unlock doors, as a train pass, control my tv, used as a credit card, read barcodes to hit websites built for phones, easily transfer data between phones, used the camera to capture text that would then be typed up in the phone, changeable faceplates (cause anime faceplates are so cool), miniSD reader, and tons of other features that didn't know how to use.

This was just one type for the lineup of the 902 lineup. Each type shared majority of the same features, but others had specific features geared towards a different base of customers. You had ones that you would watch available aired tv, you had media centric ones, you had the sleek business style ones, and so on.

I picked it up for 5800 yen with contract. Would have been 8800 yen without, but I wanted the contract anyways. It was also an old phone when I bought it, as the 903s just hit the market. With each new series of phones, all the same features are available or updated, with an inclusion of even more features. The 905s are amazing phone that the iPhone couldn't compete with.

Shoot, I remember when the stupid Razor's started showing up. The only ppl you saw buy them were Americans living in Japan. No Japanese person would buy them, cause the feature listing was utter trash.

I wanted to hook my cellphone up with T-Mobile in Germany, but Docomo locked down their phones to their service. I haven't found any hacks for it either. I personally want the P905iTV. Would be able to watch TV and record the TV shows too, all on the phone.

If I were Docomo, I'd let Softbank have the stupid iPhone. It's going to fail miserably in Japan.

RE: it's not gonna work here
By jinhamasaki on 12/19/2007 6:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
Does Apple even have the ability to add bar-code scanning into the iPhone? I'm not sure if it is a patent among companies, but I know I would DIE without such a feature in a Japan.

RE: it's not gonna work here
By afkrotch on 12/20/2007 7:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
It's possible. They'd just need to add in software update for such a feature. I personally don't see anyone bothering to spend that much green on a cellphone that has less features than their current cellphone. I have yet to see any phone designed around the American market to be successful in the Japanese market. It's just a different culture.

Great examples of such failures is the Motorola Razor and the LG Chocolate. Both failed miserably. Neither were even good enough to be a 9 series phone.

I loved the bar-code scanning features. Especially when you are at some restuarant that you've never been too. Take a quick scan, save the address, then check out their website later.

On a sidenote, found out I can buy the boxed Coco's curry in Frankfurt, Germany. I can finally have Coco's again. Now just need to find a Yoshinoya.

RE: it's not gonna work here
By garethcoker on 12/19/2007 11:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in full agreement. The iPhone is probably going to struggle here, unless they can incorporate a bunch of the features that are in the current phones here, which are miles ahead of the competition in Europe and the USA. I've been here for 18 months, and the thought of going back to an original mobile phone scares me.

Things like the 'kanji reader', 'barcode scanner', the ease of use of all the web services. I'm sure the iPhone COULD do all this stuff, but some serious development is going to be needed if the iPhone is going to be taken seriously by anyone other than the Shibuya crowd/extremely rich crowd over here. Japanese people love things that look nice, but eventually it will get ditched for something more functional.

3G iPhone for Japan for sure
By intogamer on 12/19/2007 7:08:30 AM , Rating: 2
There's going to be no way that Japan will take a 2G iPhone.

The networks are superior in every way and Asian people pretty much live by their cell phones. Again this is pre-negotiating for 2Gen or 3G iPhone.

RE: 3G iPhone for Japan for sure
By Lonyo on 12/19/2007 7:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
Plus if you have a 50% marketshare of a highly lucrative market, you are in a good position to push a hard bargain on Apple in terms of revenue sharing.
Hopefully DoCoMo will force Apple to lower its slice of the pie, even if they can't eliminate it.

RE: 3G iPhone for Japan for sure
By nomagic on 12/19/2007 9:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
The 2nd gen iPhone better be HSDPA compatible...

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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