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Iphone Japan Apple

How Steve Jobs Got the iPhone Into Japan 104

hcs_$reboot writes "Masatoshi Son, SoftBank CEO, remembers the early days when he tried to cut a deal with Steve Jobs in order to be the first to offer the not-even-named-iPhone-yet- 'new phone' from Apple, back in 2005. At the time, Son didn't even own a mobile carrier. He then purchased Vodafone, and was indeed the first to sell the iPhone in 2008 (then Au-Kddi in 2011, and DoCoMo in 2013). Today, 75% of smartphones sold in Japan are iPhones."
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How Steve Jobs Got the iPhone Into Japan

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  • BULLSHIT! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @05:45AM (#46480901)

    Android phones far outsell iPhones in Japan. See these charts as just one example

    IPhone sales only surpass Android sales for a few weeks after each new model comes out. Then it settles back down into the top 5 to 8 phones sold being Android phones.

  • Re: Summary is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <init AT init DOT sh> on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:34AM (#46481067) Homepage Journal

    the iphone is a non player here in japan. a good estimation based on what i see on the train is one in ten. the rest are a split between android and flip phones, which still offer more features than an iphone. things like saifu keitai, one seg, etc.. are considered necissary features here. the iphone just cannot compete.

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:56AM (#46481147)

    To clarify - Japanese take the East-Asian concept of "face (cultural concept, not part of the head) over reality" to the extreme in everything, from their ties with other people to the products they buy to their conflicts with their neighbours.

    As a result, many things sold in Japan personify this particular aspect. Substance is certainly important to an extent, but style is absolutely necessary to get anything sold. Iphone nails the style and image concepts, and these alone will often sell your product in Japan as long as it's not completely awful otherwise. The extreme popularity of plush toys with adults in Japan and the fact that you must own the current, heavily advertised plush toy and not one that's a year old shows this well.

    All of these are essentially the same part of the "image and style is important, substance is optional as long as it meets bare minimum requirements" as those clearly visible in Apple products. There's a reason why macbooks have a backlit apple on the opposite side of the screen, or why apple fights so hard over "curved rectangles" in courts - it wants to be distinct as to reinforce the concept of "apple is more stylish and very distinct from competition".

    I'm not attempting to be condescending and simplistic. I'm merely pointing out that apple's design paradigm of "image and style first" align very well with Japanese culture.

  • Re:BULLSHIT! (Score:3, Informative)

    by amoeba47 ( 882560 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:03AM (#46481163) is the largest online price comparison shopping site in Japan, it's very popular. The page shows a popularity ranking list of smartphones. Here's a link to a detail page (ninki ranking / popularity ranking) showing a longer list, most popular at the top []
  • Sony Xperia (Score:1, Informative)

    by Stephen Chadfield ( 7971 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:26AM (#46481497) Homepage

    I live in Japan. I have a Sony Xperia. iPhones are locked-down, corporate, American shit.

  • Re:BULLSHIT! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:57AM (#46482807)

    Forbes disagrees that the number is "bullshit" [], though I doubt they'd agree with the 75% number being representative of the iPhone's current market share either, since they do agree with what you've said about the sales trends of iPhones. According to numbers from BCN (a group that measures Japanese smartphone market share on a weekly basis), the three-month rolling average for the period ending at the start of December last year was around 60% for the iPhone's market share, with a spike up above 75% for the first week of December. Apple had the first 9 out of the top 10 smartphones during that time, and 11 of the top 14.

    Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that iPhones historically do well at the holiday season compared to their competitors, and that, as you brought up, the release cycle for the iPhones also happens to correspond with the period being mentioned by Forbes. As such, I thought I'd dig a little, and if you look at the six months prior to that three-month window I just mentioned, iPhones had a 37% share [] of the market. Of course, that was mostly before they launched on DoCoMo, the nation's largest carrier, so it's likely that their average this year may see a boost compared to last.

    Long story short, yes, iPhones enjoyed a 75% market share in the Japanese smartphone market, but it was due to a combination of their release schedule and holiday sales, which makes the numbers legitimate, but misleading. It's likely that they are doing better than the 37% they had last year starting around this time, simply due to the greater availability of the device, but it's certainly not as high as it was during the holidays.

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