• IIJ (Internet Initiative Japan), announced a joint venture agreement with U.S.-based GDX Network, Inc., a 100-percent owned subsidiary of Denver-based MX Logic, Inc., to form GDX Japan, K.K., which will provide a new-generation message exchange network service. MX Logic is an IIJ partner that provides technical expertise for e-mail solutions. IIJ said it sees the joint venture with GDX Japan as allowing the two companies to develop worldwide services and localize them for release in Japan by the fall of 2007. Under the alliance, GDX Network and GDX Japan will build a reliable private network infrastructure to ensure the deliverability and security of e-mail. IIJ administers hundreds of thousands of e-mail accounts in Japan.
• Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (OTCPK:MIELY) of Japan and Wonderware, a business unit of Invensys, reported the signing of a new software alliance agreement. Mitsubishi, a supplier of PLCs, said it aims to tap Wonderware software with its Mitsubishi hardware to deliver enhanced automation and information solutions to its customers worldwide. Under the alliance, Wonderware and Mitsubishi will cooperate on marketing activities that promote the customer value of the technical integration between their offerings. According to Wonderware, its software already is used in more than 100,000 installations around the globe, and the company is still investing heavily in ensuring continued software innovation. Wonderware’s focus is in the areas of open integration, visibility, analysis and the use of real-timeinformation to power intelligent plant and business decisions across a broad range of plant hardware, manufacturing software and business systems.
• Industry sources said Japanese mobile phone giant KDDI plans to launch a mobile phone service in the U.S. The source said that the company will not venture in to building its own network but act a so-called Mobile Virtual Network Operator [MVNO], renting spare capacity from a U.S. carrier. The move is seen by analysts as proof that there is already little space for growth in saturated home markets in Asia, pushing mobile service providers in more prosperous Asian nations to tap oversea markets for expansion. The U.S. market has not proven to be an easy one for Asia's mobile telcos. NTT DoCoMo’s attempts to gain access to the US market were not successful. Helio, a joint venture of South Korea's SK Telecom and US ISP EarthLink, has found growth also difficult. Inside sources said KDDI plans to target a niche service at Japanese-speaking residents and travelers. Information on the new service's web site suggests that KDDI will not be offering its most sophisticated Japanese handsets to US customers. KDDI will rent mobile network bandwidth from US carrier Sprint Nextel for the service.
• Willcom, Japan's largest PHS carrier and the first in the country to introduce a WindowsMobile5.0 device, reported its selection of the Nokia (NOK) Intellisync Mobile Suite as the foundation for its mobility offering. The Nokia solution is developed as a single, manageable platform for both mobile operators and enterprises. It is expected to power Willcom's business offering for WindowsMobile5.0 devices. With the agreement, Willcom joins some 21 carriers around the globe that have selected Nokia mobileware in the last twelve months as the foundation of their mobility offering. Over 4 million customers use Willcom's voice and data communication services. In a separate development, Venturi Wireless, a global provider of mobile broadband services optimization, announced an agreement to supply its V5000 Optimization Engine and VClient optimization software to Willcom. Venturi's VClient optimization software will be made available to Willcom customers for use on the Sharp W-ZERO3 next generation mobile terminal.
• Industry sources said IP Mobile Inc., a Tokyo venture authorized by the government to enter the mobile phone service market, has abandoned its plan, citing financial difficulties as the reason for the decision. The company is expected to return its business license to provide 3G wireless communications services. IP Mobile was awarded a license to operate at the 2.0-gigahertz frequency in November 2005, the same month Softbank Corp. (OTCPK:SFTBF) and eAccess Ltd. were granted licenses to operate at the 1.7-GHz bandwidth. Industry observers are say that the three providers currently dominating the market – NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Softbank – are also expected to ask that the government reallocate the frequency to them. NTT DoCoMo has long dominated the domestic cell phone market with a market share of more than 50 percent, followed by KDDI, which operates the au service. Softbank entered the market last year by acquiring the Japanese unit of Britain's Vodafone Group PLC. After acquiring the unit, Internet conglomerate Softbank returned its license to the government.
• Toshiba Corp. (OTCPK:TOSBF) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (MC-OLD) announced a joint venture to launch TV-use organic light-emitting diode [OLED] panels in three years. Analysts are saying the joint venture is targeting a US$35 billion market dominated by LCD and plasma panels. According to a spokesperson for the venture, Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. Ltd., owned 60 percent by Toshiba and the rest by Panasonic maker Matsushita, aims to start commercial production of OLED panels for flat TVs by 2009. Besides Toshiba Matsushita Display, Sony Corp develops OLED panels for TVs. According to DisplaySearch, the market for TV-use liquid crystal display [LCD] modules is expected to be about US$27.4 billion, the demand for plasma panel modules will likely total US$7.5 billion, in 2007. OLED panels are considered to be energy-efficient.
Disclaimer: IRG is not responsible for the accuracy of the news compiled within this article, which is based on publicly available information.