Softbank iPhone Deal Announced With 1-Button Press Release
With less than a week to go before Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s June 9 Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address and the expected debut of the 3G iPhone–and perhaps the Apple App Store and Mac OS X 10.6 as well–the company has finally closed a deal that will bring the device to Japan, one of the world’s largest and most demanding mobile-phone markets.
Softbank (SFTBF), Japan’s No. 3 wireless provider, broke the news in a spartan press release that would do even Apple (AAPL), a company renowned for its minimalist gadgets, proud. If ever there was a one-button press release, this is it:
SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple® to bring the iPhone™ to Japan later this year.”
Well, there you go. Presumably, Jobs will fill us in on the details on Monday. In any event, lining up a wireless partner in Japan is an important step for Apple, which hopes to gain a 1% share of the global cellphone business by the end of 2008. Nomura Research Institute estimates that Apple can sell 2 million to 3 million iPhones annually in Japan–-about 5% of the market–if it plays its cards right.
Also announced this morning, a deal with Telefonica (TEM), which has agreed to distribute the iPhone in Spain through its Movistar subsidiary. Together the two deals bring the iPhone distributor count up to an even 70, with more countries presumably waiting in the wings.
(Image credit: AAPLinvestors)