CHAPTER 1

IMMUTABLE LAW NO. 1: VALUE OVER CULTURE

Our excitement and determination in writing this book stems from our belief that the lessons learned in the Japanese mobile market can serve as effective guides for the global evolution of the mobile Internet and the products, services, and solutions created for it.

While presenting our research and insights in a variety of international forums, however, we found that many audience members do not share our views. When we say those who study and learn from the Japanese mobile market will hold a competitive advantage in their own markets, for example, the typical reaction is “Gentlemen, is that not just a Japanese thing?”

No, it is not. If you will take our word for that, or already believe Japanese culture has had no significant impact on the success of the mobile Internet in Japan, please jump to Chapter 2. If you are still in doubt, however, we are here to convince you.

First, let us provide some essential background. Japan has had an advanced mobile data market since NTT DoCoMo launched its i-mode service in February 1999. (Japan Telecom’s J-Phone actually launched its “SkyWeb” mobile Internet service 3 months earlier in December 1998, but regionally rather than nationwide.) The Japanese market has also racked up a number of innovations over the years. In addition to being the first to successfully offer 2.5G data services above and beyond SMS text messaging (in February 1999), it introduced the camera phone, third generation ...

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