Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 348, September 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION SERVICES

Trying to make up for its relatively late entry into the Japanese market, EXCITE, INC.'s subsidiary bought the established on-line search service founded by a HI-TACHI, LTD. subsidiary. The former Hole-in-One site includes such services as travel and accommodations booking as well as a standard Internet search engine. The $344,800 purchase adds about 300,000 hits per day to Excite's own 1 million daily hits at its Japan site. However, this still puts the service a distant third behind the local presences of YAHOO! CORP. (10 million hits per day) and INFOSEEK CORP. (2.5 million). Formed last October, Excite's subsidiary is half owned by the Redwood City, California parent; ITOCHU CORP. companies and DAINIPPON PRINTING CO., LTD. put up the rest of the capital.

Tokyo's SUNMEDIA K.K. has been granted distribution rights to the COS MEDLINE Internet-accessible life sciences and medical bibliographic information service developed by Johns Hopkins University and Community of Science, Inc., an international research consortium. The Japanese scientific and technical infor-mation services company will localize the COS MEDLINE interface, easing access to the service's 3,900 journals in 40 languages from 1966 to the present and 7,300 reference weekly updates.

The company that Santa Monica, California-based GEOCITIES CORP. (40 percent) and SOFTBANK CORP. (60 percent) formed in June 1997 to host a cybercity picked film and camera maker KONICA CORP. to provide its Picture Box on-line digital image service to the 130,000 or so GeoCities subscribers. They can drop off negatives or exposed film at any of 300 Konica outlets, where the images will be scanned for pickup via the Internet. EASTMAN KODAK CO. initiated a similar service in Japan early this year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 19).

The pioneer in Internet advertising, VALUECLICK, soon will strengthen its local presence. The Santa Barbara, California firm's pay-per-hit Internet advertising service has been available since last April through TRANS PACIFIC LTD., giving on-line advertisers and host Web sites a better idea of the true earning power of banner ads. ValueClick and its Yokohama marketing partner now plan to form a joint marketing operation. Trans Pacific has signed up 30 companies for ValueClick. It reports that the clients' banner ads are being clicked about 4,000 times a day. Advertisers are charged $0.07 to $0.14 each time someone clicks on their banner. The fee is split between ValueClick and the host Web site. The partners face competition from CYBER AGENT CO., LTD. of Tokyo.

Software written by VOLANO LLC has been selected by GEOCITIES CORP.'s subsidiary as its chat-room platform. San Francisco-based Volano added full double-byte language capability to VolanoChat and VolanoChatPro, the version GeoCities is using, allowing them to handle Japanese, Chinese and other tongues with complex character sets. Volano sales are handled by the SMIsoft Products Division of SUMITOMO METAL SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT CO., LTD., which sees a bright future for the polyglot chat software in Japan as well as elsewhere in Asia.

TUMBLEWEED SOFTWARE CORP. is delivering a one-two punch to the Internet messaging market. First, it is completing localization of the latest version (2.0) of its Posta universal, secure document delivery software for Internet service providers and other large network operators. Three companies are marketing the product (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 343, April 1998, p. 18). Posta's comprehensive features and solid security already have impressed companies like NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. Second, Redwood City, California-based Tumbleweed plans to open an office in Tokyo to support its marketing partners and to capitalize on the projected rapid development of Japan's Internet market.

Also seeking a bigger piece of the carrier-scale messaging market is SOFTWARE.COM, INC. The Santa Barbara, California business recently opened a subsidiary in Tokyo to build the Software.com customer base, which now includes KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD., and to work with such partners as the local operations of CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. and SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. These companies have successfully sold InterMail Post.Office Edition to ISPs and communications network providers for some months (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 21). With that foundation, Software.com plans to bring its entire line of Internet messaging products to Japan, including the Business Advantage, Consumer Advantage, Web and Standard editions of InterMail.

At the opposite end of the Internet messaging market, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s local unit has released electronic mail server- client software for customers using handheld computing devices powered by the Windows CE operating system. Starting at $4,100 for one server and 20 clients, Notes Mail R1.0J has integrated support for POP3 e-mail, group scheduling, news and discussion groups.

OPEN MARKET, INC. has forged an alliance with a FUJITSU, LTD. systems integration subsidiary to localize, market and support its Transact Internet commerce package and LiveCommerce Internet catalog application. The Fujitsu unit will offer turnkey Internet commerce solutions based on the Burlington, Massachusetts firm's products as well as consulting and integration services.

TV OBJECTS LTD. of Princeton, New Jersey has awarded NIKKI INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. exclusive marketing rights to its Java program development tool, Applet Designer. The package automatically converts programs written in MICROSOFT CORP.'s Visual Basic into 100% Pure Java, making them cross-platform friendly.

With the debut of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Windows 2000 (formerly Windows NT 5.0) operating system still in doubt, other high-end corporate OS vendors are pushing their products through this window of opportunity. For instance, the subsidiaries of SANTA CRUZ OPERATION, INC. and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. have joined up to market IBM's latest version of Unix. UnixWare 7 is said to combine the power, capabilities and scalability of the Unix operating system with the power and economics of servers powered by INTEL CORP. processors.

In the more rarefied engineering workstation market, SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s subsidiary has released an update of its Unix variant to fend off encroachment by Windows 2000. Irix v6.5 is ready for the next generation of 64-bit processors and can handle the Year 2000 changeover. Irix pricing starts at $620 for a single-user license.

Through its subsidiary, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. has introduced a version of its OSEK embedded operating system for microcontrollers. pOSEK is tailored for the control systems of next-generation vehicles, which will link all systems (brakes, lights, steering, engine, transmission and passenger comfort) via a single computer bus. Sunnyvale, California- based ISI believes pOSEK's application-independent architecture can cut automotive software development time to just two months, one-tenth the current norm. That expectation is partly behind the company's forecast of $69 million in Japanese sales by 2001.

To further expand its share of the embedded communications OS market, GEOWORKS CORP. has ported its GEOS-SC wireless communications OS to the ITRON (Industrial TRON — The Real-Time Operating System Nucleus) specification, which is used in about a third of all Japanese devices with embedded software. The Alameda, California company's move gives ITRON users instant access to a modern graphical user interface, a rich set of program and data object libraries, support for Internet protocols, e-mail and Java, and a full-featured HTML browser — all of which requires very little memory and processing power.

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SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS, INC.'s new subsidiary also is targeting the embedded market but with a different emphasis. The Oak Brook, Illinois firm has created a software package that lets makers of digital appliances simultaneously develop custom ICs and the applications for these chips. In its pitch to more than 200 makers of home appliances, cars and trucks, cameras and other consumer products, the subsidiary is stressing how the software can help shorten product development times. The system, which includes a compiler, a debugger and a simulator, lists for between $3,500 and $10,300. SDS believes that its sales in Japan will build quickly to $13.8 million a year.

To complement its fee-based, Year 2000 evaluation service for enterprise-level operating systems (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, pp. 18-19), DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary has set up a no-charge Web page that allows individual PC users to check their systems for problems that will occur after midnight, December 31, 1999. The DEC affiliate also is offering a CD-ROM of tools and other software related to the Y2K problem for $70.

REASONING, INC. has licensed its Y2K audit and renovation software to TOSHIBA ENGINEERING CORP., which will use the Reasoning/2000 package to drive operations at its recently opened Transformation Center in Tokyo. Toshiba Engineering also will distribute the package. This deal is the first tie-up for the Mountain View, California firm's new subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 343, April 1998, p. 20).

To boost the appeal and the ease of use of its flagship TME 10 network management software, TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC.'s Japanese operation signed agreements with two makers of network utilities: HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. and the local unit of NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. Austin, Texas-based Tivoli will create tight links between TME 10 and HSE's Net Insite network monitoring package and Network Associates' Virus Scan utility, allowing administrators to invoke these tools through TME 10's console.

A new release of NotesView from LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP. promises simpler, out-of-the-box administration of Notes and Domino domains. Through the new graphical interface of NotesView 4.6, administrators can automatically inventory and map the network environment, view, verify and diagnose server topologies and upgrade both Domino and Notes software. Lotus's subsidiary priced NotesView 4.6 at $6,400.

To support its rapidly growing Japanese customer base, MICROMUSE, INC. opened an office in Tokyo. The San Francisco firm's Netcool service-level management package has been warmly welcomed by network, Internet and telecommunications services providers as well as by corporations operating global intranets. The easy-to-install package is highly scalable and flexible, allowing managers to adapt rapidly to changing network conditions and demands. The new Tokyo operation will coordinate technical and customer support efforts in the entire Asian region with Micromuse's existing Australian office.

GANYMEDE SOFTWARE, INC. has given local distribution rights to two of its network performance packages to Tokyo-based TOYO CORP. Pegasus, which costs $17,200, measures the end-to-end response time of networks, helping managers pinpoint problems before they occur. Chariot tests the hypothetical performance of networks using various hardware and software combinations. Network designers can check the effect of new hardware or software programs on a "virtual" network before actually implementing the changes. Toyo expects sales of the Morrisville, North Carolina company's products to hit $2.8 million a year. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. also is marketing Ganymede Software products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 23).

As computer systems and networks become more complicated and vital, automated computer information help systems have strained to keep up. To address this problem, TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC. has begun marketing the English-language version of its Tivoli Services Desk help system through ASSIST CO., LTD. of Tokyo. A Japanese version is promised for early next year. Tivoli integrated into this package its Problem Management, Change Management and Asset Management modules to track help requests, rapidly develop answers to hardware, software or network-related questions, and help disseminate companywide information technology policies.

A trio of network security products from AXENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is available from exclusive distributor NISSIN ELECTRIC CO., LTD., which has localized all of them. OmniGuard/Enterprise Security Manager defines, manages and enforces information security policies. NetRecon quickly probes a network for vulnerabilities both at the perimeter and internally. And Intruder Alert offers comprehensive network security monitoring that can detect and respond to attacks in real time. Nissin Electric has priced the packages from $3,600 to $69,000. It is projecting combined sales of $3.4 million the first year.

An alternative network security product developed by SYSTEM DESIGN INTERNATIONAL INC. is available through a new subsidiary of SANOH INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. The Sanoh unit is using SDI's network security software and know-how as the core of its network security monitoring and consulting business. Fifteen customers and $1.4 million in sales are the unit's first-year goals.

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Network monitoring software developer NETWORK FLIGHT RECORDER, INC. has appointed INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC., one of the country's oldest and biggest Internet service providers, as the first certified reseller of its products. IIJ plans not only to resell the Woodbine, Maryland firm's software, but use it to offer later this year a new network monitoring and security service, IIJ Network Security. NFR officials hope, however, that the IIJ deal is just the start. Their flexible package can be used to track bulk e-mail and "spam" activity, to operate network-usage billing systems and to automatically gather and store information from the Web.

New antivirus software for networks using APPLE COMPUTER INC. Macintosh computers is available from SYMANTEC CORP.'s local unit. Norton AntiVirus 5.0 for Macintosh Administrator, which goes for $675, allows a network manager to monitor and update the antivirus protections of each Mac client from a central location.

MICROSOFT CORP. expects to beat back the threat of cheap network computers with its Windows NT Server 4.0 Terminal Server Edition. The server software allows clients that normally would not be able to run the Windows OS to use applications written for Windows NT through a network connection. The new version is expected to have a street price of under $1,600.

As in the United States, the market in Japan for application server software is red hot. For example, SANTA CRUZ OPERATION, INC.'s subsidiary released a new version of the Tarantella application-broker package. Tarantella 1.1 allows any client to run any server-based application without the need to install any software on the client computer. Interposing itself between the server and the client, Tarantella manages all of the interactions with the server while exchanging only requests and results with the client. A five-user license costs $2,700. .....Meanwhile, NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. has lined up five value- added resellers for its Netscape Application Server. FUJITSU BUSINESS SYSTEMS CO., LTD., FUJITSU, LTD., ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP., NEC CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. will promote, integrate and support Netscape's app server (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 21).

In a major endorsement of its technology, UNIFY CORP.'s application server solutions are being used to develop an on-line library-management system for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The San Jose, California company's VISION AppBuilder and AppServer are the backbone of a system that will link 15 scientific libraries around Japan, creating a "virtual library" with access to more than 1 million volumes. WITH SYSTEMS CO., LTD., founded by HANKYU DEPARTMENT STORES, INC. but now partly owned by TOSHIBA CORP., is doing the systems integration work with input from Unify's Osaka subsidiary.

To meet the growing software demands of financial institutions facing a new deregulated environment, IBM JAPAN LTD. developed an integrated risk-management program. Credit Meter is tailored to the special needs, practices and structures of Japan's financial markets so that it can help domestic lenders better manage their loan portfolios. This help is not inexpensive. Credit Meter costs $137,900.

Paralleling the actions of its parent in the United States, INFORMIX CORP.'s subsidiary announced that it will release a Japanese version of its namesake data base for the Linux operating system environment. This free and open version of Unix is gaining adherents in Japan. The Menlo Park, California firm's port to Linux will improve the viability of Informix-SE as an enterprise platform.

The local operation of SAS INSTITUTE INC. has released a new version of its Scalable Performance Data Server to the rapidly growing Japanese data warehouse market. The Cary, North Carolina firm's SPDS 2.0, which starts at $14,900, scales rapidly and easily yet is highly stable. It also has many built-in checks to ensure data integrity and security.

Continuing a cascade of product introductions, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary renamed and released new versions of its data base design and development packages. Designer 6.0, priced at $3,400, Developer 6.0, which costs $2,500, and the $5,500 Enterprise Developer Suite — all formerly part of the 2000 family of development tools — offer tighter integration with the Redwood City, California firm's core data base products, including the latest Oracle8i. The tools allow users to develop data base-related applications that mesh with their business operations and practices, then deploy them via the Internet or an intranet. .....Other ORACLE CORP. products new to Japan are localized versions of its Key Web Creator 2.0 (known as Web DB in the United States) and Oracle Reports 3.0. The former makes data bases Internet-friendly, while the latter, which lists for $2,100, lets users extract and present data base information in many written and graphical formats.

LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s Japanese unit has joined hands with FUJITSU, LTD. to develop and market three packages that work with the former's Notes/Domino groupware and the latter's enterprise-level hardware. Fujitsu has included Notes as part of its $2,100 OASys Super Office 6.0 suite of business applications. DBEAM for Domino middleware, which costs $3,400, connects multiple Fujitsu servers running the Lotus software. System Worker for Notes/Domino 4.0 manages enterprise-level networks powered by Fuji-tsu's big iron. It goes for $2,100 as well.

Meanwhile, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s local operation developed a unique product that helps IT managers link their Notes systems to enterprise resource planning software. LSCube 2.0 is an integrated development environment that expands on the Lotus Script language created by the parent company. Notes can become a "front end" for ERP applications, leveraging existing Notes setups. A developer license is priced at $3,400, and a five-user license begins at $17,200.

Giving ERP a green tint, ATRION INTERNATIONAL INC. of Reston, Virginia has formed a strategic alliance with a FUJITSU, LTD. systems engineering affiliate to distribute and sell its environmental, health, safety and transportation software. Atrion's CHEMMATE suite provides end-to-end EHS&T functionality that allows corporations to comply with local, national and international regulations. It also controls compliance processes and output enterprisewide. CHEMMATE furthermore delivers speed and cost advantages through optimization and management of regulatory constraints. The Atrion package works with such ERP packages as BAAN CO.'s Baan IV.

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To help local firms fine-tune their production processes, AUTOSIMULATIONS, INC. has opened a subsidiary in cooperation with its parent, DAIFUKU CO., LTD., to market and support the AutoSimulations Productivity Family of manufacturing execution software. AutoSched, Real-Time Dispatcher, ISS Reporter and AutoMod help production managers make operations scheduling decisions in real time and let them optimize productivity based on historical data and manufacturing simulations. The Bountiful, Utah firm's APF software already is in use at more than 1,300 plants worldwide, including ones operated by FUJITSU, LTD., KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., KOMATSU LTD., NEC CORP. and NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. Daifuku acquired AutoSimulations in late 1996.

ASPEN TECHNOLOGY, INC. has landed a contract to install its manufacturing execution software at TONEN CHEMICAL CORP.'s Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture ethylene plant. The state-of-the-art process control center will deploy the Cambridge, Massachusetts firm's RT-OPT closed- loop, real-time optimization module, the DCMplus multivariate predictive controller and the Composite Linear Program add-on for combining stand- alone controllers into an overall system.

A comprehensive development, marketing and support pact has been signed by MANUGISTICS, INC. and NEC CORP. to penetrate the market for supply- chain management software. Although NEC already is a reseller of the Rockville, Maryland firm's SCM package, the new agreement allows the partners to develop solutions tailored to Japanese practices and to provide much greater integration and after-sales support.

Leveraging their respective expertise in call-center/sales force automation software and rapid application development environments, the subsidiaries of CLARIFY INC. and CAMBRIDGE TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS INC. have joined forces to develop front-office solutions for Japanese companies. The two expect customers to demand that front-office software (for example, call-handling, customer support and scheduling) be fully integrated with the back-office and ERP packages they are installing. That is a demand that San Jose, California-based Clarify and Cambridge, Massachusetts' Cambridge Technology Partners feel well-suited to fulfill. Although they will focus their immediate efforts on the Japanese market, the partners expect the alliance to extend to the entire Asian region in the future.

Point-of-sale software developed by PROGRESSIVE SOFTWARE, INC. is being installed at all STARBUCKS COFFEE CO. retail outlets in Japan. The Westport, Connecticut company localized the IRIS retail management software, which integrates front-end and back-end operations. IRIS also is being deployed at Starbucks' roughly 1,600 American and Canadian locations.

Underscoring how the power of PCs is revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry, SIMULATIONS PLUS, INC. granted TEIJIN SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY LTD. exclusive distribution rights to its GastroPlus drug-absorption simulation program and its QMPRPlus add-on for pharmaceutical research. GastroPlus models the physical and chemical processes of the digestive tract to predict how compounds will be absorbed through the intestinal wall. The Lancaster, California firm's software will help drug companies speed the development and the testing of new products.

INTUIT INC. has updated its popular accounting package for businesses. The localized version of QuickBooks 6.0 now runs on Windows 98 and incorporates all relevant Japanese accounting standards, rules and practices. Intuit's subsidiary expects first-year sales of the $380 product to reach between 30,000 and 40,000 copies.

Merging more than 2,000 cross-section photographs of an actual human cadaver, LEARN TECHNOLOGIES INTERACTIVE L.L.C.'s Body Voyage CD-ROM presents an "in-depth" multimedia tour of human anatomy. The New York City educational software company has given distribution rights to VOYAGER JAPAN INC. of Tokyo, which expects to sell more than 3,000 copies to primary schools alone.

Targeting the emerging DVD market, AVID TECHNOLOGY, INC. has tied up with TOSHIBA CORP. to create a DVD production system using the Tewksbury, Massachusetts firm's nonlinear, digital video editing software and the Japanese company's PC hardware. Although DVDizer costs $103,400, this is one-tenth the price tag of competing systems. Toshiba will manufacture the system and preinstall the software, while Avid Technology will distribute the product through its existing network, made up of DAINIPPON SCREEN MANUFACTURING CO., LTD., IKEGAMI TSUSHINKI CO., LTD., TOSHIBA ENGINEERING CORP. and TOSHIBA INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP.

Hoping to ride the wave of popular interest in video-via-PC, SMITH MICRO SOFTWARE, INC. signed a distribution agreement with MARUBUN CORP. The big electronics marketer will handle the Aliso Viejo, California company's two videoconferencing packages, AudioVision and VideoLink, as well as VideoLink Mail, which allows users to record and save video messages and send them over the Internet.

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NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary has released a localized 128-bit version of its Pretty Good Privacy encryption utility for businesses and home PC users. It has been shown that ordinary PCs can work cooperatively to break 40-bit key-coded messages. Consequently, the Santa Clara, California firm expects a warm welcome for the new version's beefed-up security. PGP Personal edition 5.5.3J retails for less than $70, while the feature-laden PGP Suite 1.0 for enterprises is priced at $75 per user in units of 1,000.

To hunt down and eradicate the many files created when a software program is installed, the local operation of QUARTERDECK CORP. released two versions of the CleanSweep PC uninstaller utility. The regular- strength version, which goes for about $47, handles most situations, while the $68 Extra Strength version can deal with compressed and encrypted files. Both versions can clean out browser file caches and delete unwanted "cookies," ActiveX controls and plug-ins. The Marina del Rey, California firm's subsidiary expects combined sales to hit 80,000 units the first year.

UNIGRAPHICS SOLUTIONS INC. is expanding the product line distributed by SEIKO INSTRUMENTS, INC. Seiko has been marketing the Maryland Heights, Missouri firm's Solid Edge computer-aided design system for mechanical assembly and parts modeling (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 25). Now, however, it is handling the full suite of Unigraphics' CAD modules, including Solid Modeling, Feature Modeling, Freeform Modeling, Drafting, Reality, Fly-Through, Photo and Geometric Tolerancing. Seiko also developed customized modules using Unigraphics' application modules.

The Japanese operation of Concord, Massachusetts-based SOLIDWORKS CORP. has developed an add-on for its namesake three-dimensional CAD product. Available through distributor KUBOTA SOLID TECHNOLOGY CORP., RepairWorks enhances the capabilities of SolidWorks to import all types of CAD data through the IGES standard. KUSCO priced the utility at $3,300.

FREQUENCY TECHNOLOGY, INC. has switched exclusive distributors in a bid to boost sales. In June 1997, the San Jose, California developer chose AISYS CORP. to handle its Columbus 3D electronic design automation package for deep submicron chips. However, it recently handed this plum to SEIKO INSTRUMENTS, INC., apparently hoping to leverage sales off of the Japanese firm's CAD/EDA customer base.

Taking advantage of the ongoing deregulation of air travel services in Japan, OPEN SKIES, INC. of Salt Lake City, Utah has sold its OpenRes reservation system software to SKYMARK AIRLINES CO., LTD., the first domestic carrier to begin operations in 35 years. OpenRes has a user- friendly Flight Speed graphical interface for faster training times and lower training costs. It enables Skymark agents to book tickets at faster than average rates because OpenRes is optimized for speed.

AT&T CORP.'s research and development unit has embarked on an 18-month research project with Kyoto-based ATR Interpreting Telecommunications Research Laboratories. Their initial focus is automatic English-Japanese speech translation services for telephone operator assistance. They will allow Americans in Japan and Japanese in the United States to ask for telephone numbers, charges and connection assistance in their native language, have the request translated in real time for the operator and then have the operator's response translated for the caller. If the collaboration produces a commercially viable product, the contract could be extended to other real-time, telephony-based services, such as banking call centers, travel information and emergency assistance.

An exchange rate of ¥145=$1.00 was used in this report.
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