UPDATE: The Apple/Softbank Team-Up — Denied

I’m getting pretty tired of the speculation surrounding a possible iPhone (the latest being a deluge of articles based on a report in Nikkei) but the Eurotechnology newsletter brought something to my attention which made me think twice about the latest reports… “About 20% of Japan’s music sales are to mobile phones, while internet downloads are negligible in comparison“. This is the polar opposite of the mobile music situation in most of the world, where iTunes dominates. However, if iTunes sticks to internet downloads in Japan it’s not going to make much of a mark. The newsletter goes on to say that “iTunes downloads to mobile phones will change the business models of Japan’s music industry”, which I don’t get — there’s already a lot of music being sold to mobile phones, and while iTunes prices are a lot lower than mobile music prices in Japan it’s not going to dramatically change people’s buying habits or the operators business models, that is already underway.
The newsletter goes on to say that the move could put pressure on DoCoMo which is already behind KDDI/AU in terms of mobile music (which seems like a reasonable statement), but also that it would “make APPLE a global mobile phone handset brand in the NOKIA league”, which is a load of hogwash. Nokia had a third of the global sales of handsets in the first quarter of this year, and it’s going to take more than a few music-focused phones to be considered in the same league. A global mobile handset brand in the LG or Samsung league I could swallow.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, the original Nikkei report has been denied by Softbank, just like they all have been. Actually, the whole article is about the rumour with the line “Softbank denied the report today in a statement” halfway through.
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