The third MacWorld Expo/Tokyo held last week at the Makuhari Messe exhibition hall outside Tokyo attested to the growing success of the Macintosh in Japan by attracting over 100,000 visitors, as well as a ten-fold increase in the number of products on display. According to the International Data Corp organisers, last year’s entry of 100 […]
The third MacWorld Expo/Tokyo held last week at the Makuhari Messe exhibition hall outside Tokyo attested to the growing success of the Macintosh in Japan by attracting over 100,000 visitors, as well as a ten-fold increase in the number of products on display. According to the International Data Corp organisers, last year’s entry of 100 hardware and software products was eclipsed by 1,000 products on display this year. The day before the start of MacWorld, February 9, saw the announcement of five new Macintosh models, the Color Classic, LC III, Centris 610, Centris 650 and Quadra 800. In making the announcement, Apple chief executive John Sculley emphasised that this was the first time that Apple has launched products for the international market at a venue outside the US. Apple expects to increase its share of the Japanese personal computer market to 9% in 1993 from 7.5% in 1992. All the new models except the colour notebook PowerBook 165c will be available in Japan from March 1. Mr Takeuchi, president of Apple’s Japanese subsidiary, said that Apple declined to compete in the emerging price war in the MS-DOS market, which has been sparked by the entry of Compaq Computer Corp and Dell Computer Corp with low price machines (Compaq’s at $1,032) and new marketing tactics (Dell’s entry to the mail-order business). Rather it hoped to compete in terms of value and software. MacWorld Expo saw a number of new software products introduced to the Japanese market. WordPerfect Japan introduced its eponymous product version 2.2, which runs in Japanese on KanjiTalk 7 and uses QuickTime presentation for the addition of sounds and voices to documents. Outstanding features of the show were the new preponderance of CD-ROM titles available, and the overall predominance in the Expo of tools for designers and multi-media, rather than on business or other vertical applications. However, a number of large companies exhibited for the first time, including Mitsubishi Corp, which last year became an Apple dealer targeting the business market, subsequently releasing a IBM 3270 emulation software package for the Mac called SNA-ps3270. Other examples of companies newly entering the only computer market growing significantly in Japan included Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd, now a distributor for Ventura Publisher and MathCAD, and Minolta Camera Co, which also tied up with Apple last year, and has been establishing Apple shops around the town.
Fonts still a big issue
Another new theme of the show was fonts, still a big issue in Japanese desktop publishing; the most highly-regarded font maker Shaken Ltd has yet to open its fonts to the electronic world, preferring to remain in its traditional but highly profitable business of renting typesetting machines while providing exemplary service such as contract design of fonts at the end of a telephone line. Morisawa Co, the second company in this field, has worked with Adobe to develop a range of kanji PostScript fonts, at the show announcing a new series of New Gothic fonts; it has also tied up with Linotronic to bundle its fonts with Linotronic machines. To purists however, the Macintosh will not be truly successful in the desktop publishing field until Shaken fonts are available, and as Minoru Tomijima, managing director of Adobe Systems Japan, said at MacWorld, this is a matter of time, of waiting until control of Shaken passes from the hands of its aged matriarch. A new challenge to Adobe and other established font vendors comes from new companies such as Enfour Media Laboratory, a start-up established six months ago to offer products and services in custom design of two-byte fonts. Richard Northcott, its brash Australian founder and president, says that the high prices charged by Adobe and others for their fonts are similarly a barrier for many Japanese companies; he provides a number of tools for customers to do their own font design, including Marukan Editor, a creation and editing tool for two-byte bit-map fonts, Incubator, a tool for creating new typefaces from TrueType fonts and a TrueType Roll-
Up Tool, which creates kanji TrueType fonts from single byte files. The increasing penetration of the Macintosh was underlined by the number of developers of Japanese vertical market applications such as Hyper Kaikei accounting software, WOC Sekisan construction cost estimation software, and Dentist Fellow dental database from Off-Beat Works, all based on 4th Dimension; True Kaikei, another accounting package written in C, from IC Co; and MacDoctor and a Beauty Salon Systems from BSA; however the number of vertical market applications still lags that of both other overseas Mac markets, and competitive NEC Corp PC-9800 markets in Japan. The news from NeXT Computer Inc that it was abandoning hardware production was signalled the very next day by the sight of aggressive Canon Inc salesmen, distributing literature and urging purchase of NeXT computers, at the exit of Makuhari station leading to MacWorld. – Anita Byrnes