CyberAgent Plans to Boost Development of IPhone Apps if KDDI Sells Handset

CyberAgent Inc. (4751), maker of Japan’s most popular blogging service, plans to step up software development for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone should KDDI Corp. or other carriers offer the handset in the country.

The Tokyo-based company had planned to shift to making more apps for Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system because they are easier to design and sales of devices that run Android were expected to rise, CyberAgent President Susumu Fujita said in an interview in Tokyo Sept. 22.

“We will put more effort to develop our applications for iPhone if KDDI starts selling the smartphone,” Fujita said in the interview. “I believed Android-based handset sales would increase, but things may change.”

CyberAgent, operator of the Ameba blogging service and the social game Pigg Life, offers 62 apps for the iPhone, about 70 percent of its offerings for smartphones as of September, while apps for Android make up almost all the rest, according to the company. KDDI is likely to make the iPhone 5 available as early as November, meaning that Softbank Corp. (9984) would no longer be the only mobile operator to offer the iPhone in Japan, Nikkei Business magazine reported Sept. 22.

Applications for Android are easier to make than for Apple’s iOS because iPhone apps “require much longer processes to complete,” Fujita said.

The iPhone accounted for 50 percent of smartphones used in Japan as of March 31, according to MM Research Institute. The researcher estimates Android-based handsets will account more than 70 percent after the 2011 fiscal year if Softbank remains the sole iPhone seller in Japan.

CyberAgent generated 1.7 billion yen ($22 million) in revenue from social applications in the three months ended June 30. The blog service operator has 17 million users in Japan and 4 million users overseas, and plans to have 10 million smartphone user accounts next year, according to the company.

Shares of CyberAgent gained 1.7 percent to 198,500 yen at 2:15 p.m. in Tokyo trading. The stock has gained 2 percent this year, compared with a 16 percent decline in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kazuyo Sawa in Tokyo at ksawa3@bloomberg.net Yuki Yamaguchi in Tokyo at yyamaguchi10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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