â€œI said, â€˜Well, I don’t need to give you my dirty paper, but once you have your own product, give me for Japan.â€™ And he said, â€˜Masa, you are crazy.â€™â€
According to Son, Jobs said, â€œWe have not talked to anybody, but you came to see me as the first guy. I’ll give it to you.â€ The negotiation continued, as Son asked that Jobs put in writing that Apple would give him exclusivity for the Japanese market. Jobs’s reply? â€œâ€˜No! Masa, I’m not going to sign for you because you don’t even own a mobile carrier yet!â€™ And I said, â€˜Well, look, Steve, you promised me. You gave me your word. I bring a carrier for Japan.â€™â€
And he did. SoftBank spent more than $15 billion to buy Vodafone Group’s Japanese unit in 2006. Sure enough, SoftBank Mobile, then a distant third in the market, announced a deal with Apple in 2008 to carry the iPhone.
Sometimes you need to be crazy, and ask.