Korea OS foray a bid for patent autonomy

Caroline Gabriel/Wireless Watch
30 Aug 2011

The country has for years been acknowledged as the most innovative in finding new ways to consume broadband and mobile bandwidth, but in the early days of its wireless boom, it was highly reliant on western systems and their patents, particularly Qualcomm's.

The balance is shifting as Korean firms like Samsung start to assert their inventions as well as their manufacturing power, but progress appears to be too slow for the government, whose latest project to increase its global influence over standards and IPR is to create a home-grown cloud OS.

Just as previous Korean platforms, such as its WIPI mobile web system, were targeted at a particularly dominant western player – in that case Qualcomm – so this latest project is clearly a shot across Google's bows, especially Chrome OS.

Korea and China are both concerned about the massive influence that Google is acquiring over the web and mobile experiences and are trying to neutralize that. China has engaged in various political battles with the US firm, but there are also several initiatives underway to create alternative software platforms, including two cloud OS developments – one from the leading Chinese search engine, Baidu.

Baidu shows the way that China and Korea should be gaining greater technology power. It is competing with Google on its home ground and then trying to extend that success worldwide through partnerships, but is broadly working with international standards, while seeking to influence them.

Some Chinese government supported activities go a step further by creating entirely homegrown standards, which usually fail to impact the global mainstream, forcing Chinese vendors and operators into uneconomic islands of technology. This happened to China Mobile with its 3G platform TD-SCDMA, and the endless rows during the previous decade over China's Wi-Fi security standard.

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