Saturday, November 20, 2010

More on Microsoft Monoculture and the Mobile Revolution in Korea

An article in The Korea Times yesterday highlights an important aspect of the mobile broadband revolution occurring in South Korea, namely the problems caused by the so-called "Microsoft Monoculture" that has grown up here.  Readers of this blog will know from earlier posts that I've been an observer of the heavy reliance on Microsoft and its implications for Korea.
The article notes the great popularity of both the Apple iPad, running on the Apple OS, and the new Samsung Galaxy Tab, which runs on the Android operating system.   Unfortunately, despite all of their other attractive features, the fact that these devices do not work with the older Microsoft software that has been adopted for online banking and many e-government services in Korea somewhat limits their utility.   The article correctly notes how the nearly exclusive adoption of Microsoft's Active X and public key certificates is at the heart of this problem.   Ironically, Micorosft itself has been moving away from Active X for a long time now due to security problems.   Another factor diminishing the appeal of the iPad is that it will not display many "Flash-happy" Korean websites.
The article might have gone on to note that the mobile broadband revolution involves not only Korea, but is global in scope.  Most likely, the introduction of the iPad and the Galaxy Tab signal an increasingly urgent need for South Korea to jettison its reliance on Microsoft and move more aggressively into the mobile and ubiquitous network environment of the future!

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