Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Naver Complains of Google Monopoly in Smartphones!

NHN, the provider of South Korea's popular Naver search service, is unhappy with the smart phone market, where it claims rival Google is squeezing other companies out of business.  Samsung Electronics Android phones set Google as the default search engine, while Apple's iPhones use the Safari browser in which Google shows up by default.  NHN CEO Kim Sang-hun said it is "virtually impossible" for competitors to enter the market as only Google is connected.  "Users must be able to choose which search engines to use."   For the full story see today's Chosun Ilbo English edition.
I have commented extensively on Google's lack of success in the Korean market in earlier posts.  Naver does not really search the internet, but rather provides social information of value to Koreans, in the Korean language, and within what is essentially a Korean intra-net within the much, much larger internet.  I still stand by my earlier  arguments, but would only add that Google's services go well beyond search.   Google Earth (which is not available on the iPhone in Korea--why?), Google maps, Google Books and an array of other content and services are attractive to smart-phone users.  Over the past two and a half years, while Naver was building up its business within the Korean-language intranet with its Korean-language only service, Google was investing significantly in location-based services, and other services relating to books, scholarly documents, cloud-based applications, to name just a few.

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