updated 09:10 am EDT, Wed May 17, 2006
Softbank-Apple deal redux
Although Softbank called the report on its recent partnership with Apple "speculative," the company didn't deny that a music-playing cell phone was in its plans, according to a new report. BusinessWeek explores the background of Softbank, which has a significant stake in Yahoo, and the possibilities co-marketing the industry's first Apple-branded iPhone or iPod-based cell pohne. "Teaming up with Apple lets Softbank piggyback on the iPod's hip image -- something that Vodafone never got right with its bulky, dull handsets and constantly changing brand. And if the companies can get the first of the iPod phones in stores by November, they will have a good chance to convert some iPod users to Softbank's cellular service when new rules let consumers in Japan switch carriers while keeping the same phone number. The key will be for Softbank to 'banish memories of Vodafone's inferior brand image'...."