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Once-mighty NTT tries to break out of rut with Japan's answer to Zoom

Telecom group finds spark of inspiration in rush to remote work

NTT hopes to catch the teleworking wave with its online workspace software, co-developed by a Google veteran. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Faced with the popularity of the Line chat app in home-bound Japan, Katsuhiko Kawazoe, head of research and development planning at Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, has been asking himself: "Why could we not develop a service like this?"

NTT, once the most valuable company in the world just after its 1987 listing, no longer ranks among even the top 50. Group wireless carrier NTT Docomo, responsible for the first-ever mobile internet service, is stuck in a rut, and investors see little in the way of innovative new businesses on the horizon.

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