Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Eurotechnology Japan: iPhone? iTunes/iPod phones?

Gerhard Fasol at Eurotechnology Japan blogs about the possibility of an Apple (APPL) iPod phone and it's potential impact in the Japanese market. He points out that back in May, Nihon Keizai Shinbun ( the world's largest business daily ) wrote "that Apple and SoftBank are developing such a joint mobile phone with iPod and iTunes functions." Fasol then writes:

On March 17 SoftBank announced the full acquisition of Vodafone's Japan subsidiary - the former J-Phone - jointly with YAHOO-Japan as a co-investor - so with about 15 million mobile subscribers in the world's most advanced mobile market (Japan), SoftBank/Apple will have the firepower to make such a phone a success, provided it's tuned to Japanese consumers' needs and dreams - my guess is that it probably will be.
Fasol believes that an "Apple/SoftBank iPod mobile phones coupled to iTunes could have quite a lot of impact on Japan's music industry: about 20% of Japan's music sales are to mobile phones. Of all music downloads in Japan about 6% are fixed line internet downloads, and 94% are music downloads to mobile phones: internet music downloads are almost neglibile in comparison to mobile phone music downloads." he concludes with:
Therefore even if iTunes has a huge market share in the fixed line internet world, iTunes cannot have much impact in Japan overall if limited to fixed line internet downloads. iTunes downloads to mobile phones will change the business models of Japan's music industry - at the moment music downloads to mobile phones cost a lot more than iTunes downloads. An iPod/iTunes music store could reshape the mobile music market in Japan.