Author Archive

Mar
06

Softbank to buy Vodafone Japan?

Posted by on Monday, 6 March, 2006

This weekend saw some interesting developments in the Japanese cell phone market; apparently, Vodafone and Softbank are in talks regarding the possible sale of Vodafone’s Japanese operations to Softbank.

This is interesting on many levels, and although I really haven’t thought about it and made up my mind on what this will mean for everyone involved, these are my first thoughts about it:

– Softbank recently was given a new 3G license by the Japanese government to start up their own mobile phone service in Japan. If they now buy one of the original license holders, where does that leave the competitive situation? One of the reasons for giving out new licenses was to increase competion – the net effect of this deal is that we will only get one new major player in this market, not two as orignally planned. Will the government give out a new license to someone else?

– NTT DoCoMo and au (KDDI) should be scared by this news – they have been rather safe in the Japanese market for a while with Vodafone never putting up any serious competition, and personally I do not see eMobile (another new license-holder) being a big threat to the major players. Softbank was always the big threat to the other companies, but especially so for Vodafone who was the smallest in the market. If Softbank and Vodafone joins together, Softbank gets a quick start to its business and can move rapidly ahead with its presumed plans to revolutionize the cell phone market in Japan (at least that’s what everyone is hoping for/worrying about).

– I don’t want to be blunt, but I say this deal is also the beginning of the end to Vodafone (you read it here first, remember that). Whereas I see many positive comments about this in the news, I cannot see anything positive about this in the long run for Vodafone. Basically they are saying “we are not smart enough to be competitive in Japan, so we are quitting” – Japan is the most important cell phone market in the world, for crying out loud! It is a test bed for nearly all major technological innovations within the mobile phone market, and they are simply stepping out. Vodafone has lost its ability to grow organically, and where they find themselves in a bind, they leave (they sold their local company in Sweden too, a while ago). Mark my words, you will not see Vodafone on the cell phone market in a few years.

All in all, it is very interesting news – and I will follow it closely.

UPDATEIt seems that I was not the only one thinking in these terms – the other “new” license-receiver eAccess (eMobile) has apparently announced that they will submit a request to the government to withdraw the 1.7 GHz license from Softbank if they buy out Vodafone. Source: ItMedia (in Japanese)

Mar
04

Photos from Ikegami Baien

Posted by on Saturday, 4 March, 2006

This is taken from Ikegami Baien (Plum Tree Garden) which we visited today. It’s basically just a hill with a lot of plum trees, but it’s kind of nice!


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Feb
26

Toy Story meets Requiem for a Dream

Posted by on Sunday, 26 February, 2006

Well, it’s been a while since the wonderful The Shining Redux mashup trailer, and although it has spurred a lot of copycat mashups, none have been particularly good, in my opinion.

..until now that is.

Toy Story 2:Requiem is a mashup between Toy Story 2 and Requiem for a Dream. The end result is simply mesmerizing!

(via BoingBoing)

Why don’t you also check out the original remixed Shining trailer that started this Internet craze. Here and here.

Feb
26

World of Warcraft must be designed by a Japanese!

Posted by on Sunday, 26 February, 2006

Here’s an interesting article debating whether playing World of Warcraft teaches you “wrong” things about life and therefore is not fun, even harmful! (Via Waxy)

Reading it, it ocurred to me, the designer of the WOW game system and rules must be Japanese! Look at these snips:

1. Investing a lot of time in something is worth more than actual skill. If you invest more time than someone else, you “deserve” rewards. People who invest less time “do not deserve” rewards.

Hmm… Where have I heard that philosophy before? Ah, yes, at almost every Japanese company. Invest enough time in the company, and you shall reap economic benefits, no matter your skills!

3. Group > Solo. You can forget self-reliance, because you won’t get far in World of Warcraft without a big guild. By design, playing alone (even if you are the best player in the world) will get you worse loot than if you always play in 5-man dungeons.

Now this is getting really scary – this is a description of the backbone of the Japanese societal structure. The group is the smallest building block of Japanese society – not the individual.

So I must draw the conclusion that the gaming rules and philosophy for advancing within the game has been set by a group of Japanese company employees.

Feb
24

Jason Kottke switches to skyscraper ads

Posted by on Friday, 24 February, 2006

A-List blogger Jason Kottke has recently given up his “pro” blogger status by stopping his micropatronage (i.e. donations from subscribing readers) and settled for a more “normal” blogging approach, namely advertisements.

Check out the new look of Kottke’s site here.

(via Waxy.org)




[EDIT] In case you didn’t get it, this was sort of an inside joke by Mark Wilkie. Kottke is also catching some flak from other directions for what some call his “abandoning” of his patrons.