No iPhone in Korea…


What sparked the desire to jump over to Apple’s iPhone page was a post by CBBQTT (aka Chief BBQ Taste Tester or in the corporate world: wonderkid CEO) Matt Mullenweg of this (WordPress) blogging company fame posting on the corporate blog “iPhone Updates: Prologue and Mdot.”  Mullenweg was basically saying WordPress was updating the mobile interface in preparation for the larger release of iPhones to the world.  A smart move in my book even though some might say it’s jumping on the iPhone bandwagon.

It’s a smart move regardless of if the iPhone is or is not the dominate mobile platform moving forward.  As the purported iPhone Killers Samsung Instinct, Motorola ZN5, or OpenMoko’s Neo Freerunner start to gain popularity, the added competition and acceptance of the public to start browsing the web off their phones is gaining traction.  People are more accepting of using the Internet on their phones and Mullenweg along with all the blogs on the Internet powered by his WordPress invention will benefit not only on PC’s, but also on mobile phones everywhere.

I had a feeling that Korea wouldn’t be on the iPhone v2 country release list which includes: australia, austria, belgium, canada, denmark, finland, germany, hong kong, ireland, italy, japan, mexico, netherlands, new zealand, norway, portugal, spain, sweden, switzerland, uk, and of course the u.s.a.   However, I thought Jobs would at least have in the works negotiations for the most wired country in the world for his “adding the iPhone later” country list (Adding the iPhone in their country later is argentina, botswana, brazil, cameroon, c. african republic, chile, columbia, croatia, czech republic, domincan republic, ecuador, egypt, el salvador, equatorial guinea, estonia, france, guatemala, guinea, guinea-bissau, greece, honduras, hungary, india, ivory coast, jamaica, jordan, kenya, latvia, liechtenstein, lithuania, macau, madagascar, mali, malta, mauritius, nicaragua, niger, paraguay, peru, philippines, poland, qatar, romania, senegal, singapore, slovakia, south africa, turkey and uruguay – btw, it took a while to type up this list!).  Come on…botswana, guinea and senegal will have the iPhone before Korea does?

Thoughts that float into my head with the iPhone possibly not coming here to Korea in the near future despite Apple stores opened throughout the country are: 1) Steven Jobs & his troops don’t feel like they can compete in Samsung’s home territory; the country that is threatening his iPhone with the Instinct (M800), F700 (Ultra Smart) or Samsung Omnia (i900).  2) Jobs & company are too greedy with their terms on how to release the iPhone in Korea. Jobs is known to be an ass (or maybe in his mind a “hard ass”) in meetings or how he negotiates as shown by this meeting of FON’s Martin Varsavsky (with Jobs) who had a business development meeting with him earlier (more documented here). 3) Korea is still a bit anti-U.S. or a little too protectionist and will sacrifice exposure to products that should help it’s people learn.  4) It may be Apple’s lack of business contacts in both Korea and I saw one of the biggest markets NOT on the list of countries CHINA…so I don’t feel so bad.  Perhaps Apple’s team doesn’t know how to negotiate in either country yet.

The irony is that Koreans potentially have both the highest penetration of mobile phone users and also broadband Internet usage, but they aren’t as up to date on the combination of the two?  Or are they?

Nevertheless, I hope to see more of the technology one way or another.  I think honestly restricting cutting edge to the masses actually prevents a country from advancing.  Ideas and inventions from Korea will be limited to a few if the masses aren’t exposed to what is available in the entire world.  One of the great strengths of this country is HUGE numbers of Internet and mobile phone users taking advantage of all the great technology that’s available.  The continuation of being able to use the best and latest will help it stay on top despite the lack of natural resources.

**OpenMoko knowledge is courtesy of, Motorola’s ZN5 is courtesy of

Posted in Random thoughts by therealsouthkorea on July 12th, 2008


One comment on “No iPhone in Korea…

  1. The only reason why the iPhone cannot be sold in Korea is due to WIPI. WIPI is a wireless internet standard that is only used in Korea and must be on all mobile phones sold here. The good news is that the government is getting rid of the standard, allowing the Korean market to open to most foreign mobile phone brands such as Sony Ericsson and Nokia.

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