Sunday, October 24, 2010

The iPhone May Save Korea (from Internet Explorer)

Korea's technology infrastructure far outshines the US, but one area where Korea is stuck in a tech quagmire is browser support. The whole freaking country is stuck on IE, many on IE6. It's not that people love Microsoft. The problem (I think) is that many Korean sites require "Real Name Verification", and back in the day, Microsoft made an ActiveX control that took care of it. As a result, every new website used that control, and all web development centered on IE.

Nowadays, many, many sites only work on IE, which is incredibly annoying. Case in point - I got my internet hooked up a few days ago, and they needed IE in order to set up my ISP username/password. They assured me that once it's set up, I'll be able to use it in any browser, but I'm not holding my breath (thank god for my virtual machine).

But all hope is not lost. Despite its numerous flaws, especially the fact that it doesn't work as a phone, the iPhone is slowly helping to change the landscape of browser compatibility in Korea. Like the rest of the world, Koreans find the iPhone sexy. This is starting to bleed over into laptops, too. I see a lot of MacBooks in coffee shops nowadays, compared to approximately zero when I first visited Korea three years ago. Big websites are starting to take notice, and developing sites that actually work on more than one browser. Sexy iPhone --> Increase in Cross-Browser Compatible Websites. There's something you won't ever see in an Apple ad.

So I guess here's where I should say thanks, Steve. Your brilliant marketing of the iPhone is helping to cut the ball and chain of IE6 from Korea. God knows it's long overdue.

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