S Korea, vendors to build open-source OS

Dylan Bushell-Embling
24 Aug 2011

The South Korean government plans to develop its own open-source OS, in collaboration with vendors such as Samsung, partly due to fears that Google could become a rival to local manufacturers.

The government will forge ahead with a project to establish a consortium of local companies to create a web-based OS, Chosun Ilbosaid.

While the OS will initially target PCs and laptops, if successful the model will be exported to smartphones and tablets, to help local vendors gain an advantage in sectors dominated by Google and Apple.

LG Electronics has been named as another possible partner.

Yonhap Newsreported that the government is concerned that Google's planned $12.5 billion takeover of Motorola Mobility could turn a competitor out of an ally.

The deputy minister of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Kim Jae-hong, told local journalists that the government cannot discount the possibility of Google entering the handset making business and seeking greater control over the Android ecosystem as a result.

While the open-source nature of Android means this wouldn't happen overnight, and Google is likely to want to keep collaborating with Samsung and LG, a Google phone business would be a pressing threat.

Samsung's involvement in a state-led OS project could complicate matters for its own mobile platform, Bada.

But Kim said while Samsung had been uneager to join the project in the past, it had changed its tune after the Google-Motorola deal was announced.

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