When the news surfaced that Steve Jobs was talking to DoCoMo (NYSE: DCM) president Masao Nakamura, it was widely assumed that bringing the iPhone to Japan would be a slam dunk for Apple. After all, Japan is the land of nearly 98 million mobile users who routinely pay $300-$400 for a handset and do all sorts of things on their mobiles like paying for purchases, watching TV and even reading novels. Plus the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) brand is popular in Japan, and the iPod is already a big hit, with half the market share for portable music players.
But what if in mobile-crazy Japan, the iPhone gets lost in the shuffle of high-tech handsets? BusinessWeek questions whether Japan “needs the iPhone”, noting that in a market where gee-whiz gadgetry is the norm, users won’t be so starstruck by Apple