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Apple Inc. (AAPL): How the iPhone Is Like DisneyLand

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While Japan has never been among Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s most important geographical segments, especially compared with other Asian countries like China. The “Greater China” segment has become so important to the Mac maker’s results that it just recently broke it out into a separate reportable segment. Japan was just 7% of revenue last quarter, far below Greater China’s 19% contribution.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

That’s not to say that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t have opportunities there, but rather that the country isn’t at the top of its priority list. Apple has never inked a deal with Japan’s largest wireless carrier, NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE:DCM) , either. The top carrier currently has 61.6 million subscribers. Japan is actually one of the few countries where iOS has Android beat in market share. Kantar Worldpanel Comtech’s first-quarter estimates peg iOS at 49.2%, with Android at 45.8%.

In fact, NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE:DCM) has been aggressively marketing two rival handsets to fend off the iPhone that’s offered at smaller carriers Softbank and KDDI. The company is pushing the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia A as its flagship devices.

“I think the iPhone with its own OS is like Disneyland”
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE:DCM) exec Kazuto Tsubouchi sheds some light on why it has never offered Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s device.

The exec notes that NTT Docomo Inc (ADR) (NYSE:DCM) isn’t necessarily averse to selling the iPhone, but rather the benefits may not outweigh the costs. Tsubouchi mentions the “procurement cost” and “obligations” associated with the iPhone, obvious references to the hefty subsidies and minimum purchase commitments that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is known for extracting and imposing on carrier partners.

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