The rise of the smartphone is offering an important opportunity for Korea to revitalize its languishing software industry. Unlike in manufacturing, Korea has never cut a conspicuous figure in the software scene. But it seems to stand a good chance to emerge as a leader in mobile software. It has several factors going for it -- strengths in smartphone technology, a high standard in mobile services, and solid wireless Internet infrastructure.
The window of opportunity for the Korean software industry was provided by Apple Co. When the U.S. firm developed the iPhone, it defined the smartphone as a computer, not as a phone. As such, it applied the same business model to the iPhone as that used for its computers. In other words, it limited its role to the development of an operating system for the smartphone, leaving the development of application programs that run on it to external developers.