Demystifying the iPhone

May 21, 2008

sachio-semmoto.jpgeAccess Chairman Sachio Semmoto – a veteran in the Japanese telecommunications industry — is quite critical about the iPhone. Here’s what he has to say about Apple’s cult touchscreen phone:

Apple has sold about 4-5 million iPhone handsets and, to my eye, that is a failure. Look at how many handsets Nokia and Motorola have sold. The problem was in choosing the carrier. AT&T is not a broadband focused service provider.

If I meet Steve Jobs, I will tell him: ‘You have made a wrong choice. You should work with eMobile, eAccess’ wireless service provider’.

Semmoto went on to compare the iPhone with HTC’s new smartphone

He said HTC’s Chief Executive Peter Chou is the only guy who can
compete with Steve Jobs.

Are you reading this, Mr Jobs?

*eAccess recently unveiled a phone made by Taiwan’s HTC, the world’s biggest smartphone maker


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great stuff great quotes!

Posted by leeshin | Report as abusive

The title demystifying has nothing to do with the article, the veteran Sachio Semmoto quote sounds like pompous self-inflation, and I doubt that he will ever meet Steve Jobs. “Love his halo and the eyeglass band…
Utter irrelevance….

Posted by Azazello | Report as abusive

Oh puhleeze. He seems to not have a clue about the “cult” iPhone. It must be “cult” because he doesn’t get it. It’s not a gadget, it’s part of a system of conveniences and broadened access. iTunes is a huge part of the utility. We are looking at the beginning of a paradigm shift which Apple has created everywhere it’s technologies emerge. Apple technologies are disruptive. Mr Senmoto sounds as if he were selling no money down real estate investment systems on TV.

Posted by Oh puhleeze | Report as abusive

An interesting comment, especially since eAccess specializes in Blackberry products!
Maybe you could interview this telecom “veteran” again after his company stops losing money: f.pdf

Posted by RHuff | Report as abusive

“Here’s what he has to say about Apple’s cult touchscreen phone:”

Some advice for you, Reuters: When you use the word “cult” in an article about Apple, you lose all credibility. The article is black PR, i.e. bought-and-paid-for anti-Apple propaganda.

Posted by zato | Report as abusive

AT&T is a bottleneck for the iPhone. When it comes to speed Verizon and Sprint have a significant advantage. That said, the iPhone is the best phone on the market, but if they went with a carrier other than AT&T, or even better allowed multiple carriers, they could have absolutely dominated the phone PDA market making Blackberry and Palm things of the past. Steve Jobs is the stereotypical benevolent dictator though, so Apple prefers to maintain absolute control rather than allow freedom of choice.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

A failure? Let’s look at how many phones Nokia sold in it’s first 12 months. Let’s look at how Apple is generating a ton of revenue by getting money based on AT&T plans plus they’re making the money on the phone itself. I agree if Apple didn’t lock in with AT&T they could have really done some damage, but I believe they’re still doing damage. Everyone is running to catch up with this touch screen setup and no one has yet to make a better touch screen than iPhone.

I do believe HTC is the closest and I’ve always loved HTC for their PPC and slide out full blown keyboards. I believe that I’m ready to switch back to Windows Mobile and give up my iPhone if the HTC touch pro (the touch diamond with an actual slide out keyboard) is slim enough and light enough…my biggest complaint with the HTC phones with slide out keyboards was the weight. But I’m waiting until the 3G iPhone and SDK come out to see who’s really going to dominate. I just need another iphone with a big touch screen and a very thin slide out keyboard. That would kill RIM and HTC

Posted by Lex Noir | Report as abusive

Sounds like a classic mischaracterization by the author of the story. Semmoto is not critical of the iPhone, but critical of AT&T, because he believes Apple should have sold more iPhones. This is proved by the conclusion that Apple should sell thru his channel, and also by his comment that the only CEO that can compare to Steve Jobs is the HTC CEO.

Posted by KenC | Report as abusive

The iPhone does need to be demystified and the fanboys need to take the whole shrill mindless defense of Apple thing down a notch as well. However, this brief article doesn’t really accomplish that very well.
The US was just behind the times on innovative cell phones, which is why the iPhone seemed innovative when introduced here on introduction. And then failed when introduced in other countries like Europe where they actually had a variety of great cell phones to choose from. It should also be widely know by now that the iPhone ripped off several features from existing phones like LG Prada and HTC Touch.
Currently the Sprint Touch is very competetive with the iPhone and beats its by a long shot on features offered. And soon the iPhone will have a lot of great competition from Samsung, LG, Blackberry, and HTC.
So let’s keep an open mind here folks and not get all wrapped up in a wave of Apple hype.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive


the key strategic advatnage that the iPhone has over all the other toy phones is that it running a (mobile) version of os/x …

that means that the iphone instantly inherits a five year head start over anything that palm/msMob/symbian/android can offer.

sure, HTC can cobble together a poor man’s copy (literally!) of the iphone … but it will not have the same operational features or capabilities that os/x can offer for the iphone.

yes, that will appeal to a certain market segment that can be mollified with “good enough” – but apple does not (and should not) care about chasing such ‘losers’!

after the shake-out induced by the iphone, it will be the blackberry that has some a real value-added platform — and even RIM is running scared, playing catch-up.

NOBODY i know (especially in chinese!) says “oooh, htc — that s a must-have gadget!” …

people cave iPhones; are willing to consider blackberry’s; and will make-do with a Treo or an N-series from nokia — if they absolutely must do so …. everything else is an also-ran.

has apple been way too slow rolling out its global distribution? Yes …. apple has basically given the competition an extra year to get their act together (it is inconceivable that apple was not in immediate negociations with global carriers the day after the preview was demo’d nearly 18 months ago!) Poor execution on the timing of the global roll-out has been the biggest single flaw so far – not the core platform.

on the other hand, it is fair to speculate that apple’s long delay in getting the 3G version ready (along with the the ridiculous delay in the sdk) would have meant that apple would have entered global markets a year ago with a product that did not have automatic supremacy over the compeition (in wurope & asia, where 2G bandwisth – with no gps & no video – would have reduced the lustre of the iphone. As it is now, a year (too) late, apple will enter all global markets with the best product – which is vital to sustaining the buzz factor fro any premium product.

i suppose the 3G iphone is like most other things at apple: better late than never.

Posted by zahadum | Report as abusive

This needs some perspective. Nokia makes and sells low end phones in volume, not the high end stuff. Selling 4.5 million PDA-class iPhones in a few months, particularly one that is constrained to a relatively slow data connection, at 500 dollars a phone, is not and cannot be considered a failure by any measure. That’s just competitor jive talk.

The next revision iPhone, due out within a few days, will include more features than v1. There are many folks who held off buying v1 because of one thing or another who expect to buy iPhone 2.0.

I look forward to seeing Nokia’s first laptop computer. Let’s see how well they do in Apple’s sandbox.

Posted by Mike Bentley | Report as abusive