|$14B CEO Sacking Blamed on Lack of iPhone|
|Written by Dave Burstein|
|Saturday, 25 December 2010 20:19|
Jung Man-won decided Korea's leading wireless carrier, SK, didn't need the iPhone. Korea Telecom took Apple's deal and become a more effective competitor. SK, a $14B company with half of the 47M Korean wireless customers, has seen both profits and the stock drop by about 30%. Telecoms Korea places the blame on "loss of market leadership in the local market, especially after the boom in smartphones triggered by the iPhone."
SK Telecom was the original wireless side of KT. The then government owned KT privatized it with a sale to the SK Group in 1994 with fewer than 1M customers. It rode the wireless boom to 24M customers and has been a major innovator. Their TU Media launched Hanbyul in 2004, the first satellite TV for mobile. They reached 1M customers in two years, proving the technology worked, although customer growth since then has been modest. Their Cyworld preceded the success of Myspace and Facebook as social networks and virtually every Korean of dating age joined. They were world pioneers in several CDMA flavors and proud of their technical success. Perhaps too proud, turning away the iPhone in favor of their own developments. They've held 50% market share by cutting prices but have been clobbered in smartphones.