(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| 3Com Seeks Top Share with Palm Series in Japan, VP Says
February 25, 1999 (TOKYO) -- U.S.-based 3Com Corp. released a Japanese
language version of the Palm operating system in February, and it seeks
a large share of the market.
|In the United States, the Palm series of mobile information terminals
have obtained a market share of 78 percent in a short period. And in
Japan, the series has been supported by certain groups of users, after
some users volunteered to localize the operating system into the Japanese
Nikkei Personal Computing, a magazine published by Nikkei Business Publications,
Inc., interviewed Mark Bercow, vice president of Palm Computing Inc.,
a subsidiary of 3Com. The interview focuses on the strategy for entering
the Japanese market.
Nikkei Personal Computing: What do you regard as the most important
factor in entering Japan?
Bercow: When we started our business in the United States and
Europe, the markets for mobile information terminals or PDAs were not
yet mature. On the other hand, in Japan, our competitors were already
successful in their businesses.
As a latecomer, what matters will be how we make known Palm's strong
points to general users. Because Japanese users easily accept digital
information, I would like to quickly obtain a large market share in
Nikkei PC: Does Palm plan to release any products based on a Japanese
language version of the Palm OS?
Bercow: Initially, we will enter the Japanese market through a
licensing business for the operating system. The first group of Palm-based
products to reach the market will be those made by our partner company.
However, we may later introduce our own products in Japan.
Nikkei PC: Sharp Corp.'s Zaurus line of mobile information terminals
as well as Windows CE-based products hold significant market shares
in Japan. Do you think that Palm will have a chance to compete effectively
Bercow: Our Palm OS has an excellent operability, high connectivity
to personal computers and networks, and an open platform. Windows CE
is hard to operate, while the Zaurus platform is somewhat closed.
Nikkei PC: However, the Palm OS appears to be more closed than
Bercow: It may seem that way if you compare the two operating
systems by the number of developers. However, we are extending more
assistance to developers of the Palm OS, and the number of such developers
Nikkei PC: What about the compatibility with the Japanese language
environment (J-OS) developed by users?
Bercow: On the development of the Japanese language version of
the Palm OS, we sought cooperation from developers of J-OS. Even though
the compatibility is not yet complete, we are reinforcing our support
of such developers so that they can make a smooth transition to the
new Japanese language environment.
Nikkei PC: What about plans to release versions for languages
other than Japanese (in which one character requires two bytes)?
Bercow: Currently, we don't have such plans. However, if we take
advantage of our experience in developing a Japanese language version
of the product, developing an OS for the Korean and Chinese markets
and for elsewhere in Asia may not be so difficult.
Related story: 3Com
Develops Palm OS Japanese Version
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