NTT DoCoMo reportedly doesn't want the iPhone unless they can screw it up, so customers don't want NTT DoCoMo

NTT DoCoMo reportedly doesn't want the iPhone unless they can stick their logo and crapware, er, value added services, on it. Apple, of course, doesn't allow such shenanigans. The result, apparently, is a stalemate for the two companies, and no iPhone on NTT DoCoMo for customers. So what are customers doing about it? Leaving NTT DoCoMo, it seems. Sophie Knight and Maki Shiraki report for Reuters:

DoCoMo's requirement that its company logo be imprinted on all its devices also conflicts with style-conscious Apple's insistence that its products be left as manufactured.

No carrier, not anywhere in the world, has their logo on the iPhone. So good luck with that, and with carrier exclusive features. However, Apple might also be playing hardball:

Apple. While negotiations between the two have been a strictly guarded secret, Kato's predecessor made comments at a shareholder meeting last year suggesting the U.S. company was demanding iPhones make up half of its handset sales.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S. played chicken with Apple, and tried to hitch their competitive success to Android instead. Both blinked. NTT DoCoMo might have to as well. Apple could relax the product mix demands, but anyone think they'll allow logos or crapware on their products any time soon?

Source: Reuters

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

NTT DoCoMo reportedly doesn't want the iPhone unless they can screw it up, so customers don't want NTT DoCoMo


Nope. Apple will not give in. Not anytime soon, anyway. The iPhone has a place in the market place that is unique in this respect, Apple can demand and the carriers listen.

Apple will not give in, nor should it.

I certainly don't want carrier crap on my phone. But, as the iPhone's marketshare continues to shrink, it will be interesting if other carriers jump on the NTT DoCoMo bandwagon and Apple is eventually forced to buckle.

Apple makes profit, not marketshare. They have no reason to change strategy if they're making money instead of losing it or breaking even. And if Apple gave in to DoCoMo, Apple would be painting a target on their back because every other carrier would see an opportunity to make Apple give in. Pretty soon we'd lose everything that makes an iPhone worth having.

Well, we seem to agree on one thing: No carrier bloat is the ONLY thing that makes an iPhone worth having.

Well, we're talking about Apple giving into allowing carriers to customize the iPhone, and you said "we'd lose EVERYTHING that makes an iPhone worth having." And I agreed.

Luckily, the EU is investigating Apple's contracts with carriers and whether they are legit. It appears they are not -- based on what operator representatives have hinted -- and in that case Apple will be forced to give up any product mix demands they may have or exit the European market altogether. On the other hand, iPhone market share is in free fall in the EU, so soon it may no longer matter which way they rule about this, since the operators need not listen to Apple anyway, as its grip loosens all the time. This is good, since any ill practices on Apple's part to control the operators only increase prices -- or already has, iPhones cost more in Europe than anywhere else in the world -- and hurt competition, and, eventually, the consumer as well.

I paid USD 1000 for my iPhone. Of course, I am not going to put up with such prices any more. It will be WP for me from here on. Others around here seem to agree seeing where the market share figures are heading.

The product mix demands going away is probably a good thing, the insistence on no crapware going away is probably a bad thing.

Agreed - and then need to take the next step and allow us to delete their crapware / replace with alternatives. (Hello, Stocks and Weather)

Can you delete stocks and weather app. Nope

Can you move them to another folder or the last page of your home screen so you never see them again. Yep

Are there multiple, if not hundreds, of other apps in the same category to choose from, both paid and free. Yep

Your argument is like complaining when gas goes up by one cent. Those apps take up less space then a few photos. in the grand scheme of overall storage they are a drip in the bucket.

NTT is massive in Japan, meaning there is a very real ceiling beyond which Apple cannot pass if they stick with Softbank. That said, I appreciate the principled stance. Android is a fragmented mess because carriers and handset makers can have their wicked way with the OS.

A further report though says that iPhone is the most popular phone in Japan. Also, DoCoMo has already lost roughly 3 million customers to people wanting iPhone.

Personally, I don't like sales quotas, but even more so, I don't like carrier logos and the other BS they do. I wish blackberry could handle their updates like Apple. Then my z10 wouldn't be stuck on 10.0, luckily I have an iPhone 5 as well.

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It is indeed a mess. Apple is right. I've used iPhone and now Androids. Getting customer service from an Android is terrible. Why? Because the phone manufacturer (say Samsung) can blame tech issues on the carrier (say AT&T) since they customize the ROM and have their own unique version of the phone. AT&T can deny any responsibility and send the blame right back to Samsung. You are now in the carrier's control waiting for ROM and software updates that Samsung has no say over. This very problem is making me consider going back to Apple because they keep control of their phone and operating system. No separate phones and software for each carrier, which creates a confusing mess. I actually like what Android offers better as far as features and ease of use goes, but Android has no one piloting the ship! And the customer experience is more frustrating and a waste of time.

I'm mostly dismayed that KDDI won't unlock my 4S, even if its out of contract. The way they do contracts here, it makes no sense not to upgrade after the 2 year cycle, but for my use case, it would be nice to be able to pop in a Bmobile sim...I wonder if the people using iPhones on docomo's network had a factory unlocked phone?..

How many DoCoMo customers are leaving them because they can't get an iPhone there? Apparently not enough for DoCoMo to cave to Apple's requirements. Not enough for it to really matter. Apple playing "hardball" and getting cart blanche with carriers certainly hasn't worked thus far in China. It will be interesting to see if it works with DoCoMo.

About 3m of NTT's 60m customers have left (net losses). 5% isn't huge but at some point it will become an issue for them if it continues.