or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › SoftBank's Masayoshi Son won iPhone exclusivity after pitching Apple cellphone to Steve Jobs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

SoftBank's Masayoshi Son won iPhone exclusivity after pitching Apple cellphone to Steve Jobs

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
In an interview earlier this week, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he scored exclusive Japanese rights to sell the first iPhone after pitching a crude drawing of an imagined iPod-cellphone hybrid to Steve Jobs. At the time, Son did not own a mobile carrier and the already-in-development iPhone was still two years out.

Son
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was interviewed by Charlie Rose earlier this week. | Source: Bloomberg


During a half-hour segment, Son sat down with Charlie Rose on Monday and offered background on Apple's initially exclusive iPhone partnership with SoftBank.

According to Son, the meeting with Job]s came as he was planning to enter the mobile phone business. Before jumping in, he first wanted a weapon to wield against Japan's undisputed No. 1 carrier NTT DoCoMo and went to Apple with an idea for a handset.

"I brought my little drawing of [an] iPod with mobile capabilities," Son said. "I gave [Jobs] my drawing, and Steve says, 'Masa, you don't give me your drawing. I have my own," Son said. "I said, 'Well, I don't need to give you my dirty paper, but once you have your product, give me for Japan.' He said, 'Well, Masa, you are crazy. We have not talked to anybody, but you came to see me as the first guy. I give to you.'"

Before leaving, Son proposed that Jobs put down the exclusivity agreement in writing, but at that point the iPhone project was still a secret. Jobs also reminded Son that he did not yet own a mobile phone carrier in Japan.

"I said, 'Look, Steve, you gave me your word, I bring a carrier for Japan.' And I did," Son said.

SoftBank would later go on to buy out and rename Vodafone Japan's network in late 2006.

The Japanese telecom giant now owns U.S. carrier Sprint, as well as stakes in some 1,000 companies including Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba.

As for Apple's iPhone, the handset has gone on to become one of Japan's top-selling mobile devices. In October of 2013, one study found 66 percent of former NTT DoCoMo subscribers jumped ship to a carrier that sold Apple's device. Even when the country's largest operator was granted access to the device, the company blamed its worst-ever quarterly subscriber loss to limited iPhone stock.

Son is in the U.S. to meet with Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance of next-generation mobile Internet trends. It is also likely that there will be discussions regarding Son's interest in T-Mobile takeover by Sprint, which would give him a controlling interest of two of the top-four wireless carriers in America.
post #2 of 30
I beat this guy by a year with my pitch to Jobs.
post #3 of 30

Yep, this man right here is the ONLY reason Apple made a cell phone, and therefore he should receive all credit for the action¡

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #4 of 30
Two years before it debuts is well after development started.


PS: I'm pitching an idea that the next iPhone should be faster and better.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #5 of 30
Good story, thanks for passing it on, AI. I find it believable as written here, and I don't think he's claiming undue credit. The takeaway is that Apple made his business a success.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: I'm pitching an idea that the next iPhone should be faster and better.

 

With a larger screen¿¡ ;)

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Two years before it debuts is well after development started.


PS: I'm pitching an idea that the next iPhone should be faster and better.

I'm vindicated. For a bit there, I thought Steve didn't take me seriously and had to wait for this guy.

As to your innovative idea, is bigger better? And what should the number be after the word "iPhone"?
post #8 of 30

I don't see anything in this account where Son claimed that he originated the idea for the iPhone, nor does it mention the particulars of what he sketched. All it said was that he could see enhancing an iPod with phone capabilities.

 

Was it some variant of the iPod classic design with the touch wheel? I can't imagine that Jobs would have shared any touchscreen hints at the supposed time of this meeting. It's quite likely that Son at the time had no idea that Jobs was thinking about a touchscreen interface, because the first iPod Touch wasn't unveiled until almost nine months after Jobs first announced the iPhone on January 9, 2007. It would be fascinating to see what Son envisioned and actually sketched and showed to Jobs.

 

Remember that BlackBerry and the Palm Treo smartphones had been in the marketplaces since 2002 and 2003, so it wasn't exactly an original idea on anybody's part that Apple might want to leverage its music player business into a phone device. The wholly different Apple user interface features and blossoming ecosystem were the chief factors that completely disrupted the smartphone industry from 2007 onward.

 

So Son was one of a number of smart guys who could see a place for an Apple smartphone, especially if it would give him a unique entry point into a national marketplace dominated by formidable competitors. In other words, there's nothing in his account to doubt his word unless someone steps forward with evidence to contradict him.


Edited by Kibitzer - 3/12/14 at 9:57pm

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Yep, this man right here is the ONLY reason Apple made a cell phone, and therefore he should receive all credit for the action¡

Except he isn't trying to take credit for that. The article even stated Steve said he didn't need that drawing since they had their own. Since you failed to grasp that point it means the iPhone was well into development by then. He was simply sharing a story on how Softbank got exclusivity in Japan by guessing that Apple would make a phone and his guess impressed Steve. Very believable and no attempt to take any credit.  That ¡ that you use on nearly every post should stand for ironic and not sarcastic if that is what you were attempting. 


Edited by gwmac - 3/12/14 at 9:08pm
post #10 of 30
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post
Except he isn't trying to take credit for that. The article even said Steve said he didn't need that drawing they had their own. He was simply sharing a story on how Softbank got exclusivity  in Japan by guessing that Apple would make a phone. That ¡ that you use on nearly every post should stand for ironic and not sarcastic if that is what you were attempting. 


You’re really reaching. But it’s late, so I’ll chalk that up to being tired.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Except he isn't trying to take credit for that. The article even said Steve said he didn't need that drawing they had their own. He was simply sharing a story on how Softbank got exclusivity  in Japan by guessing that Apple would make a phone. That ¡ that you use on nearly every post should stand for ironic and not sarcastic if that is what you were attempting. 


You’re really reaching. But it’s late, so I’ll chalk that up to being tired.
He is not reaching. That is what it says and means.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post
 

Except he isn't trying to take credit for that. The article even stated Steve said he didn't need that drawing since they had their own. Since you failed to grasp that point it means the iPhone was well into development by then. He was simply sharing a story on how Softbank got exclusivity in Japan by guessing that Apple would make a phone and his guess impressed Steve. Very believable and no attempt to take any credit.  That ¡ that you use on nearly every post should stand for ironic and not sarcastic if that is what you were attempting. 

 

gwmac and Phone-UI-Guy are right.

 

Note that this is about the timeframe that the Motorola ROKR (with iTunes functionality) was announced. It wasn't really an Apple handset, just a rebranded Motorola E398 with a firmware limited 100 song capacity.

 

Son's acumen in correctly guessing Apple's basic strategy (and not the exact form of the iPhone) is what is important here.

post #13 of 30
T'was this one ...
ipod-phone.png
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

T'was this one ...
ipod-phone.png
Exactly! 1wink.gif

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply
post #15 of 30
As a SoftBank subscriber in Japan, what I take from this story is that however Son gained exclusive first rights to the iPhone in Japan, it enabled him to lock the iPhone and keep it locked even after au and DoCoMo joined the fray 3 years later.
SoftBank users (and now au and DoCoMo) STILL CANNOT get a factory IMIEI unlock of their off-contract 3GS, 4, 4S and soon 5 units. We have paid our 2-year contracts but remain forever locked to SoftBank's not so great business model.
It is damned annoying that I cannot unlock a SB phone and put an overseas SIM in it when traveling. Instead I am forced to pay outrageous global roaming charges.
Contrast this with cheap SIM IMEI unlocks in the US and compulsory IMEI unlocks in the EU and you can see how far behind the curve Japanese mobile carriers are.
post #16 of 30
I just followed the links to Charlie Rose's show. Son is a fascinating guy and the article above is just a glimmer of the whole story. It's well-worth a half-hour to watch the video.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-12/how-steve-jobs-got-the-iphone-into-japan.html

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply
post #17 of 30

Saw the Rose interview. It was really good. I'm sure it is available, on line.

 

When the iPod-Nano first came out, I thought "wow, it would be so cool if they put a phone inside this thing". It was basically the same size as a candy bar phone of the time.

post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yep, this man right here is the ONLY reason Apple made a cell phone, and therefore he should receive all credit for the action¡
They were already working on it.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post
 

Except he isn't trying to take credit for that. The article even stated Steve said he didn't need that drawing since they had their own. Since you failed to grasp that point it means the iPhone was well into development by then. He was simply sharing a story on how Softbank got exclusivity in Japan by guessing that Apple would make a phone and his guess impressed Steve. Very believable and no attempt to take any credit.  That ¡ that you use on nearly every post should stand for ironic and not sarcastic if that is what you were attempting. 

Yes, I believe you are correct. Japanese do not do things like trying to take credit for someone else's work.

 

Also, Steve had lots of respect for the Japanese since they view things long term, they do not worry about today, that has already been written so to say, they look 1, 2, 5, 10 20, yrs out, and I believe Steve also does, this is why I believe Steve left a roadmap for Apple to follow which goes out 10 to 20 yrs and Apple will keep banging at until they get it right. Not sure Masayoshi guess correctly and Steve was impress since it was believe back when Apple and Motorola did their failed attempt that Apple was in fact working on a Phone of its own. Many insiders in the cell phone industry figure they had to be doing something just not sure what.

post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

I'm vindicated. For a bit there, I thought Steve didn't take me seriously and had to wait for this guy.

As to your innovative idea, is bigger better? And what should the number be after the word "iPhone"?

iPhone π or iPhone ∞.
post #21 of 30
Son-of-a-....!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #22 of 30

The people who think it's about Son inventing the iPhone don't get it.  What this proves is that like-minded businessmen want to work with each other, and can accomplish great things together.

 

Steve didn't care about Son's guess/drawing, but what he did see was Son's potential as someone who is forward-thinking, and chose to work with him because of that.  While Steve knew Apple had a great phone in the works, he also knew that partnering with the right people (service providers) was important.  Many of the established service providers were just too entrenched/comfortable with the existing business model to accommodate the iPhone, so he took a chance on people like Son.  Smart.

 
Reply
 
Reply
post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

The people who think it's about Son inventing the iPhone don't get it.  What this proves is that like-minded businessmen want to work with each other, and can accomplish great things together.

Steve didn't care about Son's guess/drawing, but what he did see was Son's potential as someone who is forward-thinking, and chose to work with him because of that.  While Steve knew Apple had a great phone in the works, he also knew that partnering with the right people (service providers) was important.  Many of the established service providers were just too entrenched/comfortable with the existing business model to accommodate the iPhone, so he took a chance on people like Son.  Smart.

Good things come to those who aggressively pursue them.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

The people who think it's about Son inventing the iPhone don't get it.

The knee-jerk mean-spiritedness that opened this thread is really shameful. These people should be exiled to MacRumors for a week to learn about the barrenness of such cynicism.
post #25 of 30

I just can't believe how many people here either can't read the original post, or be bothered to listen to the (very good) interview.

Yep. Knee-jerk stupidity.

post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

I just can't believe how many people here either can't read the original post, or be bothered to listen to the (very good) interview.
Yep. Knee-jerk stupidity.

I (and I assume everyone else) was just goofing. I don't think anyone actually believes Son is trying to claim credit for the iPhone.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #27 of 30
Yiu
Quote:
Originally Posted by plankton View Post

As a SoftBank subscriber in Japan, what I take from this story is that however Son gained exclusive first rights to the iPhone in Japan, it enabled him to lock the iPhone and keep it locked even after au and DoCoMo joined the fray 3 years later.
SoftBank users (and now au and DoCoMo) STILL CANNOT get a factory IMIEI unlock of their off-contract 3GS, 4, 4S and soon 5 units. We have paid our 2-year contracts but remain forever locked to SoftBank's not so great business model.
It is damned annoying that I cannot unlock a SB phone and put an overseas SIM in it when traveling. Instead I am forced to pay outrageous global roaming charges.
Contrast this with cheap SIM IMEI unlocks in the US and compulsory IMEI unlocks in the EU and you can see how far behind the curve Japanese mobile carriers are.

And you can't even buy an iPhone SIM-less in Japan either. Which is crazy. I've been over there 5 times in the past year and if never fails to irritate me! Lol
post #28 of 30

In fact, you can buy an unlocked phone online from Apple Japan here for about 75,000 yen.  Apple Japan does not widely advertize this but then you face the problem of no payngo SIMs and very few MNVOs (two perhaps) none of whom offer payngo.  The MNVO SIM has to be purchased for a minimum 1-year contract using monthly credit card payments from a Japanese cc.  

It is a locked-up market waiting for some serious disruption IMO.

post #29 of 30
Th
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yep, this man right here is the ONLY reason Apple made a cell phone, and therefore he should receive all credit for the action¡
Not what he said. It actually sounds pretty Jobsish... Trust in people who show trust etc.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #30 of 30
The Apple iPhone is a great phone; however, it's expensive.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
  • SoftBank's Masayoshi Son won iPhone exclusivity after pitching Apple cellphone to Steve Jobs
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › SoftBank's Masayoshi Son won iPhone exclusivity after pitching Apple cellphone to Steve Jobs