Sept. 6 - Apple has won over Japan's largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, sources say, as the iPhone maker tries to regain the global edge lost to Samsung and other Android-powered smartphones. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's a marriage made in Tokyo. As the drumbeat of next week's expected iPhone launch gets louder and louder- - Apple seems to be plugging holes in its growth strategy. The smartphone maker has signed on NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, to start selling iPhones as early as this fall, say people familiar with the matter. With that, the stage is set for Apple to fend-off a challenge from Samsung. While Apple's market share in Japan is three times Samsung's, the country is not immune from the onslaught of Android-power phones that have knocked Apple off its perch as world market leader. As in all marriages there's some give and take on both sides, but Apple would no doubt love to get the iPhone into the hands of NTT DoCoMo's 60 million customers, and for NTT's part, the iPhone could help it regain ground lost to smaller rivals. We couldn't get comment from either company Shares of Apple have been on the rebound lately - with investors once again believers in the brand - but the stock is still down some 200 bucks from its all-time high set last year. With expectations that NTT is on board in Japan, China Mobile ready to launch in China, rumors of lower priced iPhones, color iPhones, and even a larger screen model, Apple seems to be trying to tick all the boxes, which may prevent CEO Tim Cook from ticking-off new investor Carl Icahn.