Japanese Carrier NTT DoCoMo's List of Demands Make iPhone Alliance Unlikely
July 5, 2013 12:14 PM
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Apple's iPhone has a 42% share of the smartphone market in Japan: Apple and NTT DoCoMo want to expand that figure
Apple's iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones on the planet, and the Cupertino, California-based company is looking to greatly expands its customer base. With Samsung charging hard with its
line of Galaxy smartphones
, Apple has been pushing its iPhones onto more and more carrier networks around the world (when the iPhone was originally announced, the company was more concerned about using one exclusive carrier for each country).
However, when it comes to expanding its reach in Japan, Apple has reached an impasse with the country's largest wireless carrier: NTT DoCoMo. DoCoMo's 60 million customers more than likely have Apple execs salivating, and DoCoMo is looking to put an end to the 3.2 million customers that have jumped ship to rival carriers over the past 4 years (many of which offer the iPhone). Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Well, maybe not.
is reporting that DoCoMo's list of demands has prevented Apple from taking the plunge. These demands include:
Allowing DoCoMo to preinstall its own proprietary apps and services on the iPhone
Allowing DoCoMo to emblazon its logo on every iPhone it sells
These are two areas where Apple is likely unwilling to negotiate. Apple is strictly against preinstalled carrier apps and services, which it considers "junk", and prefers that customers choose their own path with third-party apps from the App Store. In addition, allowing any company logo on an iPhone other than Apple's is strictly off limits.
With regards to the services that it offers on its smartphones, "We're trying to develop a lifestyle system," said NTT DoCoMo CEO Kaoru Kato. "The biggest problem is the impact on the services that we offer."
While a deal with Apple doesn't appear likely anytime soon, DoCoMo is heavily relying on Android-based smartphones to keep its customers happy.
indicates that the wireless carrier was able to sell 830,000 Sony Xperia A smartphones since mid-May, while the tally for the much-hyped
Samsung Galaxy S IV
was fewer than 415,000 during the same time period.
Both companies are quite set in their ways and don't want to give in to the other, but one [unnamed] wireless carrier exec believes that Apple may blink first, "At some point, SoftBank and KDDI will reach a saturation point for iPhone sales. Apple may have no choice but to look to DoCoMo to sell more iPhones. Perhaps DoCoMo is just waiting."
Even with DoCoMo out of the equation, the iPhone had 42 percent market share during the closing three months of 2012.
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7/6/2013 12:32:45 AM
They can't 'give in' because what DoCoMo wants them to do would require a complete alteration of the iOS framework. If a carrier gets to bundle bloatware with an Apple device, that device needs its own iOS firmware that wont be maintained like the rest of iOS devices.
What Apple has had the industry doing is "standardize" their iOS platform so it can be consistent. This prevents the distribution fragmentation Android suffers from, where each carrier is responsible for supporting each device. Carriers are terrible at updating Android on almost every device they support.
This is one of the key selling points of the iPhone/iPad in my opinion. If DoCoMo gets their own distro with their own crap, who's going to maintain it? Like hell Apple is going to hand over the source code to DoCoMo, and like hell Apple is going to setup a whole new department in iOS development just to support NTT.
7/7/2013 9:25:18 PM
That is one view. However a simple compromise is to preload some iOS apps that DoCoMo wants on there. Customers can use them or not or delete them or whatever. This is not too different from the carrier specific info that is required anyways.
Someone elses logo though, not gonna happen. That is just dumb.
7/9/2013 1:18:59 PM
I agree, they could do that, but the nature of carrier "bloatware" is to make it difficult/impossible to remove. Akin to rooting an Android device to remove otherwise read-only APK's.
I'm confused why I was rated down for explaining Apple's IOS strategy?
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