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애플의 아이폰 출시에 국내 휴대폰 업계도 잔뜩 긴장하고 있고, 소비자들은 기대에 부풀어있는듯하나 실제로 한국에서는 그리 참신하지 못하는 평입니다.

Why Korea Won't Bite the Apple

South Korea is proud of its electronics makers and tech-savvy consumers.
Samsung and LG won't roll out the welcome mat for the new iPhone 3G


아이폰, 한국 시장에서 주목받지 못할 전망 (BusinessWeek 6/13)

  • 3G 아이폰이 전 세계적으로 주목받고 있지만 한국 시장에서는 크게 각광받기 어려울 것으로 관측됨.
  • 한국 소비자들은 자국 업체인 LG전자와 삼성전자가 끊임없이 선보이는 우수한 디자인과 첨단 기술을 탑재한 멀티미디어폰에 더 많은 관심을 보이고 있기 때문임.
  • 지난 2년간 독특한 디자인의 신제품을 선보이면서 성장한 LG전자는 지난 4월 'Secret'을 공개하는 등 아이폰 출시에 대비해 왔음.
  • 삼성전자도 3G 아이폰 공개 직전 경쟁 제품인 터치스크린 스마트폰 'Omnia'를 공개하고 신형 아이폰과의 경쟁 의지를 표명했음
  • 한국투자증권 애널리스트는 "iPhone이 직관적인 유저 인터페이스를 자랑하지만 기능과 기술 면에서 한국산 제품을 앞서지 못하는 것이 사실"이라고 분석함
BusinessWeek (원문 링크)
Telecom June 13, 2008, 8:30AM EST text size: TT

South Korea is proud of its electronics makers and tech-savvy consumers. Samsung and LG won't roll out the welcome mat for the new iPhone 3G
by Moon Ihlwan

Despite the buzz generated by the June 9 unveiling of the first major makeover of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, there's one place on the planet the U.S. brand isn't likely to generate much buzz, at least in the near future: South Korea. The country is one of the most advanced mobile Internet markets in the world, and electronics companies have worked hard to make sure tech-savvy Korean consumers don't fall for foreign brands.

This is a place where Nokia (NOK) is virtually absent. Google (GOOG) has struggled in Korea too. Its six-year-old Korean-language search service lags far behind market leader NHN. And while consumers in other countries have embraced the iPod, most Koreans are just not that into Steve Jobs and the work of his Apple designers. Many analysts say the iPhone 3G, the next-generation iPhone (BusinessWeek.com, 6/9/09) with faster Internet access that will sell for as low as $199 (half the current entry-level price), probably won't do the trick either. "Apple can't expect to be acclaimed as a premium brand in Korea," says Thomas Kang at market researcher Strategic Analytics.

The big problem for Apple is simple. Koreans are more attracted to phones made by local consumer-electronics powerhouses Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, both of which roll out scores of sleek multimedia handsets featuring leading-edge technologies every year. The Big Two together control nearly 80% of the Korean handset market.

Samsung's Answer to the iPhone
Eager to play up their innovation bona fides, the Korean companies are determined not to take a back seat to Apple. For instance, less than 24 hours before Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced details of the new iPhone, Samsung unveiled a new touchscreen smartphone, called Samsung Omnia, its answer to the new iPhone. LG, for its part, last year actually beat the original iPhone by three months in the race to introduce a touchscreen model, (BusinessWeek.com, 5/1/08) offering the Prada phone, the outcome of LG's joint efforts with the Italian fashion house.

Like the iPhone, Samsung's Omnia works like a small handheld PC. It runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 and features Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Opera 9.5 as its Web browser. It also sports a 16 GB memory, a five-megapixel camera with antishake technology, music and video players, 3G capability, Bluetooth, WiFi, an FM radio, and GPS functionality. It will go on sale in Southeast Asia later in June and in Europe in July, though pricing has yet to be announced. "Although the iPhone boasts intuitive user interface, it doesn't really outshine Korean phones in functions and technologies," says telecom analyst Yang Jong In at brokerage Korea Investment & Securities.

Special Software for Internet Access
LG is working on a slew of new smartphones too. In the past two years, LG has changed into a trendsetter (BusinessWeek.com, 5/8/08) from a second-tier phonemaker by launching models with a distinct look and feel. In April it rolled out the Secret, which used carbon fiber and tempered glass for the first time in a phone—a design meant to preserve the model's sleek style from wear and tear. It is also equipped with a five-megapixel camera, Movie Maker software enabling the user to mix music with videos, and a Google package allowing access to the Internet, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube videos.

Korea's regulatory requirements could also discourage the iPhone's debut in the market. To help smaller companies develop Internet-related applications at lower costs, the Seoul government in 2005 made it mandatory for all mobile-phonemakers and content providers to use a software standard for Internet access, called WIPI, or Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability, in Korea. "I doubt Apple will be bothered to develop a new WIPI-enabled phone just for the Korean market," says spokesman O Young Ho of KT Freetel, Korea's second-largest mobile carrier, known as KTF, that is in talks with Apple to sell the new iPhone.

A Little Crack in the Armor?
Little wonder the three Korean operators aren't in a hurry to forge a partnership with Apple. Both SK Telecom, the country's largest wireless carrier, with a 50.5% market share, and LG Telecom (with 18%) have made it clear they have no plans to offer the iPhone. O says Apple is one of many phone manufacturers that KTF (with 31.5% share) is in contact with for its future handset lineup but admits there are big gaps in their negotiation terms.

Some industry-watchers bet KTF will eventually strike a deal with Apple, probably within a year. "KTF has been desperately trying to offer differentiated services to narrow its gap with SK, and the iPhone could be one option," says Stan Jung, telecom analyst at brokerage Woori Investment & Securities. Meanwhile, the Korean government says it will review its policy requiring WIPI for all Internet-capable phones now that business environments have changed in the past three years.

Moon is BusinessWeek's Seoul bureau chief.
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  • 프로필사진 대마왕 성공할지는 모르겠지만 주목은 받을꺼 같은데 화려인 인터페이스는 확실히 멋있습니다. 2008.06.17 15:42
  • 프로필사진 쨈아저씨 제가 알기로는 폐쇄적인 통신사업자 및 그걸 방조하는 정부덕분에 아이폰의 '아'자도 한국에서는 구경하기 힘들겁니다.
    많이 팔리지는 않겠지만 가격 책정에 따라서 아마 많이 차이가 날겁니다.
    삼성이나 엘지의 고가격정책의 허를 찌르면 가능할듯...

    아무리 삼성이나 엘지의 폰이 좋더라도 웹연동기능을 생각한다면 한국의 폰은 거의 거름마 아이정도 수준입니다.
    모바일 미등의 콘텐츠를 볼 때 시장구성을 좌지우지는 못해도 어느정도의 판매는 될거라고 생각이 되고요.
    2008.06.17 16:04
  • 프로필사진 봉사마 삼성에서 물타기를 하는 것 같다는 생각이 드는건 왜일까요-_-;
    근거로 써 놓은 것들이 대부분 와닿지가 않네요.
    끊임없이 선보이는 우수한 디자인과 첨단 기술을 탑재한 멀티미디어폰 ==> 아이폰의 디자인과 기술 집약적인 면들이 더 뛰어난 것 같음
    아이폰 출시에 대비 ==> 그럴리가-_-; 아이폰 출시되고 나서 14일 만에 만들라고 독촉해놓고-_-;;

    모 블로그에서 얻은 정보에 의하면 삼성에서 KTF에 아이폰 출시를 연기해 달라고 했다고 하네요. 아이폰과 옴니아가 맞붙으면 이길 가능성이 없으니까 옴니아가 좀 퍼진 후까지 기다려 달라는 거죠.
    그러면 무지한?! 사람들은 "아이폰이 옴니아를 빼꼈구나..." 라고 생각하겠죠-_-;
    2008.06.17 22:28
  • 프로필사진 짠이아빠 저도 아이폰이 국내에 들어와도 마니아 시장 이상으로는 커지기 힘들다고 예측하는 사람의 하나입니다.
    그 이유는 위에 나온 기사의 코멘트도 있지만.. 애플 제품 오래사용해본 사람으로써 애플의 AS정책에 조금 회의적이기 때문이죠. 단순히 폰 하나만 수출하는게 아니라 실제로는 그것과 관련한 AS시스템과 전국 네트워크가 들어와야 하는데 지금의 아이팟이나 컴퓨터 제품처럼 인증업체 위주로 갈 경우 고객 불만은 불보듯 뻔하다고 생각합니다. 그리고 또 하나 한국의 헤비유저들은 폰의 사용주기가 무척 짧다는 것.. 그러한 트랜드에 아이폰은 잘 않맞다고 생각되네요.. 물론 저 같은 극소수의 마니아들은 구입할지 모르겠습니다.. ^^
    2008.06.18 01:03
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