Rather than opening up its mobile market to the I-Phone and other innovations, South Korea chose to maintain a special WIPI software requirement. As far as I can determine, this software requirement serves no useful purpose other than to make it more difficult for Apple or others to enter the South Korean market. If you read the Economist's latest analysis, it implies that this nation should completely open up its mobile communications market to encourage innovation and also to help its leading exporters of handsets. Among the main points are the following.
- According to Informa, a market-research firm, the market for smart-phones will grow from $39 billion in 2007 to $95 billion in 2013, by which time they will make up nearly half of the handset market by value (though only 34% by volume).
- More importantly, as handsets get smarter the nature of the industry will change. It will be less about hardware and more about software, services and content, as illustrated by the accompanying chart. This is why, for the first time, a fierce battle between operating systems for handsets has broken out.
- It has taken two outsiders to shake things up. One is Apple, with its iPhone. As well as being a paragon of hardware and user-interface design, it comes with a flat-rate “all you can eat” data plan.
- The other disrupter is Google, with its Android platform. It also lets users download applications from an online store, called Android Market. But it differs from the iPhone in that Android is just software, which Google makes available to handset-makers and operators.