Microsoft said Thursday it will team up with Japan's largest mobile operator, NTT DoCoMo, to push Windows 8 on tablets to corporate customers.
The companies said they will work together to come up with business solutions that use Windows 8 tablets on NTT DoCoMo's LTE network. While specific details are still scarce, the partnership will include joint sales and promotions, as well as the joint development of products for corporate customers.
Windows 8 is Microsoft's first genuine entry into the tablet market, and the company is eager to replicate its success with previous versions of Windows in the corporate world. DoCoMo is keen to secure long-term business deals for its LTE network, as competition from rivals like Softbank drives down the price of consumer contracts.
As in other countries, companies in Japan are struggling to deal with a sudden increase in the number of employees that use their private mobile phones and tablets to access their company email and files, a trend that comes with compatibility headaches and security risks.
Microsoft and DoCoMo said they will team up with tablet makers and system vendors to create end-to-end solutions for businesses. This could allow firms to keep more control of the devices that access their networks.
On the consumer side, DoCoMo launched in December of 2010, well before its domestic rivals, but uptake was slow with a dearth of devices and coverage. The company didn't hit its first million users until a year later, but recently adoption has accelerated -- DoCoMo said it reached six million contracts in September, the latest million coming in less than a month.
At the same time, rivals Softbank and au have rolled out their own LTE networks, and a price war is underway. DoCoMo said in October that it will offer its service with no basic charge for up to 13 months for users that buy a new phone and sign up for a two-year plan.