Going back to the basics

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Going back to the basics

The global technology world is ever changing. Mergers, acquisitions and new technologies pop up almost every day. Apple kicked off the race for corporate reinvention, and, in today’s technology jungle, there is simply no place for the old guard.

Last week, Hewlett-Packard announced it would stop making PCs and discontinue the operating system used in its tablet computers and smartphones. Instead, it will buy the British software company Autonomy for $10 billion to focus on software.

Nintendo, which used to be the envy of the technology world, saw net profit plunge 82 percent as consumers shifted to smartphones and spent less on video game consols.

Kim Taek-jin, chairman of NCsoft, Korea’s largest online game company, defended Samsung Electronics and other large companies. At a meeting with JoongAng Ilbo journalists, he praised Samsung for standing tall against Apple, even as its competitors have been defeated one by one. Even when rivals Nokia and Motorola tumbled, Samsung Electronics somehow managed to keep up thanks to its speed and flexibility and has been bold enough to throw down the gauntlet against Apple with a series of competitive tablets.

Kim could not agree with the hypothesis that large companies have killed the software industry, saying that “the reality is not that simple.” He said an array of structural problems has been instrumental in the software industry’s slump.

Kim, the coauthor of the Korean word-processing program Hangul, said few would succeed if they started up a venture company in order to earn money. One must possess integrity and determination in order to survive. Many of today’s venture entrepreneurs have fallen not because they lacked passion and technology skills, but because they spent too much time drinking and entertaining themselves.

In the technology world, it is winner take all. If one does not get ahead in the software revolution, there is no future for Korean companies or even the country’s economy. When Nokia started its fall, so did the Finnish economy.

Korean companies have erred in many ways in recent years. It is important to create an innovative habitat, like Apple has. But, for now, Korean companies should do what they have been best at - emulation and reinvention - in order to survive in these revolutionary times. Instead of blaming one another, Korean companies, big and small, must join forces in a united front to stay in the game.
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