Korean Presidential Candidate Promises Greater Browser Choice

Pulkit Chandna

Once arguably the most widely used web browser in the world, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has witnessed a precipitous decline in usage over the past few years; where the browser accounted for 95 percent of the browser market at its peak in the early naughties, its current market share is estimated to be somewhere between 27.4 percent and 54.13 percent. But in certain parts of the world, it’s still, hands down, the most used browser. South Korea is one such place.

In South Korea, a country known for its blazing fast Internet speeds , Internet Explorer still accounts for as much as 75 percent of the browser market. But numbers don’t always tell the whole story, do they? Well, they certainly don’t in this case. Microsoft’s browser owes its preeminent position in the Korean market not to genuine popularity — or ignorance — but to a regulation that requires online transactions to be secured by the indigenously developed 128-bit "SEED" block cipher. The problem is that SEED requires an ActiveX control in Internet Explorer.

If Korean presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has his way, Internet Explorer’s market dominance in Korea may soon become history . Mr. Ahn, who is better known as the founder of South Korea’s largest antivirus company AhnLab Inc. , has vowed in his 439-page manifesto to rescind a government regulation that mandates the use of SEED for online transactions . He feels that the said regulation has not only greatly inconvenienced the country’s Internet population, but also led to the “international isolation of Korean IT.”

While we usually don’t take sides in South Korean presidential elections, one can’t help but root for someone who wants to bring greater browser choice to Korean Internet users.

Image Credit: Artician

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