Apple Big Winner in Japan’s Smartphone Market for 2009

Apple Inc. shipped 1.69 million iPhones in Japan in the fiscal year ended March 31, capturing the top share of the country’s smartphone market, MM Research Institute Ltd. said.

The iPhone, offered by Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier Softbank Corp., accounted for 72 percent of smartphones shipped in the country in the period, the Tokyo-based researcher said in a report yesterday. Taiwan’s HTC Corp. was second with 11 percent, followed by Toshiba Corp. with 6.8 percent, it said.

Demand for the iPhone helped more than double Japan’s shipments of handsets that can surf the Web and download music, video and applications to 2.34 million units last fiscal year, while shipments of regular mobile phones declined 4 percent to 34.4 million, according to the report. Smartphone shipments will probably exceed 3 million units in the 12 months started April 1, even as the overall market is forecast to contract for a third year, it said.

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