Originally Posted by acslater017
although, with apple's emphasis on clean design, reliability and customer service, i'm surprised their japanese market share is not a bit bigger.
It used to be. Their second largest market, in fact, trailing the US.
However a combination of not making the right hardware (for example: subnotebooks & TV tuner equipped iMacs out of the box), poor marketing, general neglect, the ending of Macworld Tokyo and other factors have seen Apple sales flatline which equals steadily declining marketshare.
For example the entire toilet seat iBook era were machines the Japanese wouldn't use, and so they had to wait years to get the 12" iBook and even longer for the 12" PB. By that time the market had downshifted again to 11/10" notebooks sans optical drives.
No phone (as the Japanese lead the world in switching from MP3 platers to musicphones), no PDA when they could have used one (a Newton that kept living could have been huge in Japan for a few years, and longer if it evolved a smartphone model), and so forth.
However a Japanese adapted iPhone, a subnotebook and/or Newton2, and a few hundred million in infrastructure and marketing could bring back the residual Japanese interest in Apple and strengthen their marketshare and return the investment many-fold.
At the end of the day in European and Japanese operations Apple is acting like the company they were in 2001-3 (post-restructuring, post-iMac blip, pre-resurgence) rather than the company they are now.