Japan’s SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son has announced that his company will offer free iPhones to all children who became orphans due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The orphans won’t be charged any communication fees until they reach the age of 18.
In addition to it, Son announced that Softbank will cover living costs (commute and food) for one year and provide job positions for the 1,200 people to be relocated to Takeo in Saga.
Son is using Softbank’s “Let’s Do It” campaign site — a tracker for his “Let’s Do It” tasks posted on Twitter, each accompanied by a completion status indicator — to crowdsource requests for supporting earthquake victims. So far, these requests are mainly about ways to increase efficiency for donation efforts (like publishing a live list of item shortages for each shelter, and setting up new mobile networks at the shelters), but there were two that caught our attention. Last week, one of Son’s followers suggested that Softbank should provide orphaned children free phone credit for a limited time, so that they could contact their friends and other family members. Son then retweeted this idea and announced that all earthquake orphans will receive free phones, along with call costs waived until they reach the age of 18. Another gadget-related initiative came in earlier today with Son promising free replacement for all lost or damaged iPhones due to the earthquake, with details to follow later.
Son is effectively using Twitter as a social tool to reach out his fans for suggesting any new way they think could help the earthquake victims. Even iPhone idea was proposed by KitWin. Will this generous initiative by Softbank be followed by other companies? May be? What do you think? Please share your views or ideas about how a company can help the victims?