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.
The high profile trial between Apple and Samsung in the U.S. has yet to be decided, but in a South Korean court, a three-judge panel ruled that both firms are infringing on each other. Both were awarded damages, and hit with sales bans to infringing smartphones and tablets, although not any of the newer devices, including the iPhone 4S, iPad, or Samsung Galaxy S III.
“Hacker army” is a term we'd expect to hear from an explosion-packed Hollywood crime caper, but here we are watching real people spout phrases that are just asking for a cheesy one-liner to wash them down. That, however, is only the tip of the increasingly silly sounding iceberg. The South Korean government, you see, is claiming that said “army” helps keep its not-so-nice neighbor to the north from gobbling up all its funds by farming a little gold here and there. By which we mean, you know, six million dollars' worth.
As is well known, South Korea has been continuously voted the most popular destination among North Korean defectors ever since the Korean peninsular was cut into twain in 1948. The South Korean government now appears even more determined to retain the top spot in the hearts of North's emigrants, even if it takes a ridiculously fast 1Gbps internet connection to lure them to the country.
“I think in the future we will really see a data deluge - data will explode over the network. And you cannot handle that data traffic only through the mobile internet. Although there will be LTE, still you won't be able to handle all that traffic,” Lee Suk-Chae, chairman of Korea Telecom, told the BBC.
“Fixed line is essential to support that traffic and in that sense, I think people want to watch the content they want anywhere, anytime, and to satisfy their demands you need to have a strong network, maybe a gigabit internet.”
So how does this make you feel, Rest of the World?
Asking for realism in a game about intergalactic space-wars is a bit of a stretch, considering that we’ve yet to take our lethal bickering beyond earth’s gravitational pull. Still though, we have a pretty decent hunch that real star wars will still involve some amount of blood, swearing, and maybe even a bit of smoking. This seems like a safe assumption.
Ask someone from South Korea, though, and they might not be so sure. Granted, they may also be 12 years-old, as that’s the audience Blizzard is aiming for with its censored release of StarCraft II.
”Since StarCraft 2 was originally developed to be a game adolescents could enjoy, we're very pleased with the Game Rating Board's decision [to award the game an Age 12 rating]," said Blizzard, via a translation. "In the remaining time until StarCraft 2 goes on sale, we'll do our best to continue to perfect the game so that even more fans can enjoy it."
That decision comes after Blizzard set its censorship phaser to kill destroy, coloring in-game blood black, and removing all signs of smoking and “vulgar” language. Originally, the game would have been given the dreaded, “cover your eyes, honey” Adults Only rating, which – reading between the lines – probably would’ve done a nuclear strike-sized number on its sales. However, Blizzard is still considering releasing an uncensored version as well.
But hey, since we’ve already got the 12 year-olds’ attention, can we also throw an anti-cheating PSA in there? Certainly couldn’t hurt.
The global market for virtual goods is already worth billions of dollars annually. In fact, several small countries around the world have smaller GDPs than the total worth of the virtual economy. But there are very few laws to regulate virtual commerce in its infancy. At this stage, it is only fair to expect the courts and lawmakers to only tackle issues related to virtual trade as and when they appear before them.
One such question came up for consideration before South Korea's apex court during a recent case where two gamers had been accused of illegally profiting by trading in-game currency for real cash, a practice popularly known as gold farming. The court not only acquitted them but also ruled that in-game or virtual currency is to be treated on par with real currency.
The FTC was investigating the world’s four largest manufacturers of NAND flash memory: two in South Korea, one in Japan, and one in the United States. The four companies investigated are unnamed in the report, leaving us to wonder who they are. The report, however, does tell us the world’s four largest NAND flash memory manufacturers are Samsung and Hynix (in South Korea), Toshiba (in Japan), and SanDisk (in the United States). Perhaps it’s not such a mystery after all.
NAND flash memory, which is cheap to produce, is used in digital music players, digital campers, USB memory sticks, and the like. An over-production in the latter part of the decade lead to a downward spiral in prices, which some manufacturers are alleged to have perpetrated to gain market share. Manufacturers claim that pricing was more a factor of oversupply and technological advances, which the FTC seems to agree with, finding no evidence of price-fixing on the international level, and limited evidence of price-fixing on the domestic level.
After a long wait, Apple's iPhone arrived in South Korea over the weekend. Prior to Saturday, regulatory roadblocks and touch negotiations with a local telecommunications company prevented Apple from selling its iPhone in the technologically advanced country.
"We're hoping that this iPhone will be a trigger point for the smartphone market in Korea," said Yang Hyunmi, chief strategy officer at KT Crop., Apple's local partner.
Smartphones only account for 1 percent of all cell phones in South Korea, Yang added. He also said that he expects the iPhone to be "really huge." And he's likely right. Since November 22, some 65,000 South Koreans have placed preorders for the popular smartphone.
That doesn't bode well for Samsung and LG, the two companies who dominate the mobile phone market in South Korea and also rank No. 2 and No. 3 globally.