Ken Uchikura Newsletter Vol 82 ... Difference in Product Development Between the US and Japan
Research & Development & M...

Research & Development & Marketing

Difference in Product Development Between the US and Japan

There is a fundamental difference between how products are being developed and released between the US and Japan.

In the US, it is important to release products as fast as possible. This practice enables the product to be released early but may carry many problems/bugs upon launch. When problems happen, they are fixed very quickly.

It is generally understood by the public that version 1 of anything made in the US carries risk. That was the reason why Ashton-Tate decided to name the initial version of their database software dBASE II. This way, people would think it is better than dBASE I (which never existed).

On the other hand, Japanese spend a lot of time refining the design and ensuring strong quality control. This means Japanese products have few problems, but the development time is much longer. When problems do occur, it again takes a longer time to address them.

When Microsoft Windows was released, all Japanese PC manufacturers like NEC, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Sony had their offices inside the Microsoft Campus. This was done to customize and verify the functionality of Windows software before it was shipped to Japan. So the Japanese release was often later than the US release, but the Japanese version had much fewer problems.

Which is better? For consumers it is always better to have problem-free products. However, companies that release their product faster will be better accepted by the market, especially by investors. The current trend is to develop faster and to fix later.

Pompom Drawing by Ken Uchikura
Kenichi Uchikura
President / CEO
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc.


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