Japanese cell phone industry pioneer Takeshi Natsuno praises Apple iPhone

“One of Japan’s top cell phone innovators says that for all his country’s technological prowess, it could never have produced the iPhone,” Yuri Kageyama reports for The Associated Press.

“Japan’s telecommunications industry stifles the kind of creativity that is so apparent in Apple’s Web-surfing phone, says Takeshi Natsuno, who developed Japan’s first Internet-linking cell phone service “i-mode” in 1999, when such systems were still groundbreaking,” Kageyama reports.

“‘This is a great device,’ he said, affectionately touching a black iPhone 3G during an interview Thursday with The Associated Press. ‘This kind of device cannot be produced by Japanese manufacturers. Never,'” Kageyama reports.

“Natsuno, 43, who quit top Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo three months ago, expressed disenchantment with this nation’s phone industry, which he said was dominated by stodgy conservatives, who lacked the charisma and creative sensibilities of a Steve Jobs, chief executive at Cupertino, California-based Apple,” Kageyama reports.

“The iPhone, introduced in Japan last month, has drawn long lines although it still makes up a tiny portion of Japan’s 115 million cell-phone market,” Kageyama reports.

MacDailyNews Take: No, really? You mean Apple hasn’t sold tens of millions of units in the first four weeks and therefore still makes up just a tiny portion of Japan’s cellphone market, despite being introduced a whole month ago? Who’da thunk it? Cripes, Mr. Obvious. What’s next, Yuri, “water is wet?”

Kageyama continues, “Natsuno, now professor of policy management at Keio University, warned that Japan’s telecommunications business is doomed unless it can change quickly.”

Full article here.

[UPDATE: 3:04pm EDT: Revised “Take” after further reflection. In our own defense, we read a lot of, um, stuff, each day and some of what’s written just wears us out.]

24 Comments

  1. Kageyama is right, a device like iPhone cannot be produced in japan, even other Apple-like products. The big japanese company must to start to “think different”.

    (Personally it would find interesting a joint Venture between Panasonic & Apple. They could make the “iMovie-Camcorder” or an “iMacTV”)

  2. <<No, really? You mean Apple hasn’t sold tens of millions of units in the first four weeks and therefore still makes up just a tiny portion of Japan’s cellphone market, despite being introduced a whole month ago? Who’da thunk it? Cripes. How stupid do you have to be to get a job writing for AP, exactly? Is there even a lower limit? What’s next, Yuri, “water is wet?”>>

    MDN’s cryptic sarcasm has become boring. It is what one would expect of a high school newsletter. Its childish.

    It does nothing to enhance the reader’s knowledge of the industries Apple competes in, or how Apple itself is doing.

  3. Wow…
    “How stupid do you have to be to get a job writing for AP, exactly?” That comment is a little over-the-top, son’t you think? I don’t have anything to do with AP at all, but seriously. Why would you downgrade to an iPhone when you have video conferencing on most cell phones in Japan??? That Mr. is a pertinent comment!

  4. And this revelation would shock who, exactly?

    Japan has never been known for its innovation; they are known for efficiency and miniaturization.

    In short, historically they would be able to make an iPhone-esque device that cost less to produce, have a removeable battery, and be 20% smaller.

    However, with advanced computer aided design and state of the art Chinese production facilities, this former competitive advantage has been severely eroded with respect to consumer electronics.

    So, yeah, they are screwed, however still make great Hybrids.

    Still..it took GM to invent a viable electric car (Volt)…well…I guess to invent it again. Google “who killed the electric car” for a hoot.

  5. Oh..but back to MDN’s take.

    The AP brand is perceived as crap by any thinking adult. Just read their election coverage.

    To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “Biased and factually inaccurate is no way to go through life, son.”

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