Sadly enough, NEC's share price rose 2.6% on the news that it is going to shutter its mobile phone unit. It's a tragic epitaph for what was once a genuinely exciting brand. It's also a sad reminder of the profound failure of Japan's technology industry.
The global smartphone market is currently shaken by a cluster of vital, hungry challenger vendors of China and India, including Huawei, ZTE, Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. Japanese mobile phone powerhouses like Sharp, Toshiba, Matsushita and NEC have been left in the dust. Only Sony still soldiers on, grimly and joylessly.
In the end, NEC fizzled out as a global phone brand despite having pioneered key technologies like color displays, 3G support, dual screens and camera modules. Just like its Japanese peers, NEC was too focused on Japan's domestic market and its idiosyncratic nature to ever really anticipate global trends accurately.
NEC's miniature models had lousy battery performance and Nokia's larger, heavier models triumphed among consumers who appreciated five days of stand-by time over a slim chassis. Motorola's dazzling RAZR designs trumped NEC's boring Japanese ovoids among consumers who valued slimness. NEC's 3G phones were the first in the world, but they suffered from serious quality issues and were buried by models that arrived nine months later, offering more finesse. The Japanese disease of valuing early introduction of technological advances over usability blighted NEC permanently. The damage as particularly obvious in the early camera phone race, where NEC missed the huge mass market for cheap models by focusing on the expensive, exclusive dual-screen niche.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended his reflationary policy, dubbed Abenomics, on Friday while opposition leaders argued it is failing, after the House of Representatives was dissolved on the day for a snap election. (Jiji Press)
Japan's Lower House speaker has issued a very unusual order. He told lawmakers to redo their "banzai" cheers because some chimed in before he finished reading the official declaration to dissolve the chamber. (NHK)
Murder suspect Chisako Kakehi invested most of the about Y1 billion she inherited from her spouses and lovers in futures trading and other financial products over the past few years, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from investigative sources. (The Japan News)
Japanese public prosecutors on Friday demanded a prison sentence of 10 years for Yusuke Katayama, who is accused of hijacking other people's personal computers and using them to send online threats. (Jiji Press)
According to various Japanese news sources, 83-year-old retiree Yasuji Shibata was arrested for selling obscene material via an Internet auction in April for 3,400 yen (about US$28) after police found explicit photos in his home on November 16. (rocketnews24.com)
Police raided Internet proxy server operators across Japan on Wednesday over a spate of online banking fraud cases, with at least two of the operators suspected of helping illegal access from China. (Jiji Press)