20100803

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

The day after Steve Balmer shook hands with Lee Sang-chul to celebrate a strategic partnership in cloud computing between Microsoft and LG U+ (formerly LG Telecom), Google's Andy Rubin and SK Telecom's Bae Joon-dong did the same over Android Market, to boost the Korean developer ecosystem around the robot version of Shrek (this green Android oger has layers too, beyond the OS stage).

Significantly, the deal was at the CEO level for Korea's #3 MNO and at the VP level for the leader.

Steve Jobs didn't need to show up in Korea, where the Apple-KT partnership ignited much delayed smartphone boom (see previous episodes). Furthermore, he wouldn't be welcomed these days : the war of words between Apple and Samsung has turned nasty in the UK, where the latter countered repeated attacks by the former with a comparative ad in spite of specific orders from Seoul headquarters : Samsung is certainly a major competitor to the iPhone (half a million Samsung Galaxy S sold during the first month), but also a major provider for Apple.

If the Microsoft / Number 3 model is a classic, the Google-SK Telecom deal could prove a game changer in a country where the 3 major operators dominate too much the value chain / value cloud for app providers to multiply, thrive, and become global players.

But overall, between Microsoft, Apple, and Google, Korea Inc somehow confirms its return into the US Inc technosphere of influence.

Korea Telecom's idea of diversification ? Setting up KT Estate, a real estate arm, to manage its already impressive assets : 30% of revenues last year !

mot-bile 2010



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