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 on Tuesday.
NTT DoCoMo spokesman Shuichiro Ichikoshi said company President Masao Nakamura met recently with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Shuichiro declined to comment further.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, reported on Tuesday that Jobs and Nakamura discussed launching the iPhone in Japan.
Apple has said it plans to launch the device in Asia next year but has not provided details.
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, the article said.
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-cellphone-Internet surfing device to the world's second-largest economy would be a boon for Cupertino-based Apple, which hopes to sell about 10 million iPhones by the end of next year.
Apple has sold more than 1.4 million iPhones since they went on sale June 29 in the US. Subsequent launches in Europe have boosted sales and sparked a legal fight over Apple's exclusive use of T-Mobile -- part of Deutsche Telekom AG -- as its wireless provider in Germany.
Apple's strategy thus far has been to pick an exclusive mobile operator for each region: AT&T Inc in the US, O2 in Britain, T-Mobile in Germany and France Telecom's Orange wireless arm in France.
Last month, the chairman of China Mobile (
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