DoCoMo Managing Director Takeshi Natsuno to Quit - Source

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TOKYO (AFP) Takeshi Natsuno a key brain behind the blockbuster "i mode" multimedia function on the phones of Japan's telecom leader NTT DoCoMo is set to step down a person in the company said Friday.

"He is going to be leaving the company at the end of April," an informed source in DoCoMo told AFP.

Natsuno, 43, plans to use his expertise to work in the growing related industry of producing content for mobile telephones, the source said.

DoCoMo was the pioneer of third-generation telephones, which allow Internet access and other interactive features.

First introduced in 1999, i-mode allows mobile telephone users with a touch of a button to access a variety of multimedia functions including newspaper articles, games and downloadable videos, music and cartoons.

DoCoMo has dominated the competitive Japanese mobile market and has increasingly exported i-mode. It is now used by service providers in 16 countries outside Japan, according to DoCoMo.

Natsuno came to DoCoMo in 1997 from Tokyo Gas with an objective of figuring out how to put customers' wallet into their mobile phones.

Besides i-mode, he has worked to develop other functions including turning mobile phones into contactless cards that can be used to pay at stores and train stations.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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