Japan, An Early Mover In Mobile, Trails The U.S., Others In Smartphones

comScore: Japan, An Early Mover In Mobile, Trails The U.S., Others In Smartphones

This headline (and story) doesn’t surprise me at all. The important quote:

Ironically, it seems that Japan’s early move into mobile content – the i-mode service from DoCoMo, launched in the 1990′s, being one of the very first plays at offering more than just voice and text to users – is partly to blame.

Why is this ironic, though? It is typical. Leaders don’t generally transition quickly from one paradigm to another because the old is good enough. DoCoMo was kind of like smartphone technology years ago and it was heavily adopted in Japan, a decade and a half before anywhere else. It is not surprising at all that the consumers there have been slower to transition to smartphones.

A great example in the US is how long it took for cell phones to take off relative to other countries. We had awesome and expensive copper wiring going to every house in America. Of course there is little incentive for people to change and little incentive to “string the last mile” of cell phone service across the country. Other countries had no copper wiring, no landlines, and were much faster at adopting cell phone technology.

This is why most companies can’t make the transition from one business paradigm to another, too. It is why Google sucks at social, why Microsoft has struggled at mobile.

Japan is way more typical than this article wants to admit. There are examples everywhere.