SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. is negotiating with Japan’s top mobile phone carrier to launch the iPhone in Japan, though the cut of subscriber revenue that Apple wants has been a sticking point, according to a report published Tuesday.
NTT DoCoMo spokesman Shuichiro Ichikoshi said company President Masao Nakamura met recently with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Shuichiro declined to comment further.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, reported Tuesday that Jobs and Nakamura discussed launching the iPhone in Japan.
Apple has said it plans to launch the device in Asia in 2008 but has not provided details.
NTT DoCoMo had nearly 53 million subscribers and commanded more than half of Japan’s mobile phone market at the end of September, but has struggled to add new users in recent months amid fierce competition from KDDI Corp. and Softbank Corp., which have slashed rates and launched aggressive sales promotions.
Apple and NTT DoCoMo are still negotiating the terms of a deal, with one stumbling block being Apple’s demands to receive the same percentage of subscriber revenue from NTT DoCoMo that it receives from other carriers, according to the Journal.
If a deal with NTT DoCoMo falls through, Apple is also talking with Softbank, according to the report.
Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock declined to comment.
The introduction of the combination iPod-cell phone-Internet surfing device to the world’s second-largest economy would be a tremendous boon for Apple, which hopes to sell about 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008.
Last month, the chairman of China Mobile, China’s biggest mobile services operator with nearly 350 million subscribers at the end of September, revealed the company was in talks with Apple to bring the iPhone to China.