The story of Apple and Japan makes for good reading. Japan has long been home to some of the finest consumer gadget manufacturers, so the speed and utter dominance of Apple's products in the country is truly stunning. First, Apple brashly unthroned Sony's
For comparison, in NPD Group's latest U.S. survey, the iPhone had a 21% share of the U.S. market. Oh those Japanese, they hate American consumer electronics!
The point of all this: Ignore any stories of Japanese consumers shifting to like nondomestic gadgets as some kind of cultural shift. The real storyline here is how tenuous technological investing can be. Starting with the iPod, Japanese companies were unable to realize the power of building a platform around mobile gadgets. iTunes was the special sauce that Japanese firms couldn't replicate. With smartphones, that platform was extended into an entire ecosystem of applications. For companies like Sony that were used to differentiating on hardware, that was a difficult concept to grasp, and one that's now coming too late.
So, competitors of the exclusive iPhone and iPad carrier Softbank, like NTT DoCoMo
Eric Bleeker does not own shares of any companies mentioned. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.