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[Op-Ed] The iPhone Effect on Jobs

Posted December. 12, 2009 09:31,   


Following the launch of the Apple iPhone in the Korean market, the software industry has increased the number of job opening announcements. The employment portal site Job Korea said more than 800 job postings were placed in the sector over a one-week period early this month. The number of openings in the software sector was 1,397 in August, or 9.4 percent of all such postings but jumped 12.2 percent to 1,812 last month. Korean smart phones, including Samsung Electronics’ Omnia 2 and LG Electronics’ OZ Phone, also require application software, and thus chances are high that recruitment of software developers will rise.

What can software developers do with iPhone? A global example of such a developer is graduate student Eliza Block. Developing a crossword puzzle over six months and selling it to Apple’s App Stores, she earns more than 60,000 U.S. dollars per month. A person who downloads the software pays 5.99 dollars, and the developer takes 70 percent of the proceeds and Apple 30 percent. When this game software was singled out as a success story last year, it ranked 32nd in sales. Hence, the market can prove to be a bonanza.

More than a few domestically developed pieces of software are available at App Stores. Among them, Com2uS’ the Chronicles of Inotia, and Gamevil’s “Zenonia” are highly popular games. Depending on the volume of the games’ download, even the stock prices of their developers move in tandem, leading to the term “iPhone Business.” Junichiro Yamashiki, a Japanese Indi entrepreneur, urges in his book “Money-making Mobile iPhone App Store (Random House Korea),” “Let’s realize our dreams in App Stores.” He developed the Manetron software program, which costs 2.99 dollars. The hit program allows a user to play music by introducing graphic keys on the iPhone.

In addition to App Stores, Samsung and LG also have opened similar stores such as SK Telecom’s “T Store” and KT’s “Show App Store.” There is also Google’s “Android Store,” which is poised to move into the Korean market, “and Nokia’s “Ovi Store,” which is popular in Europe. App Stores have many kinds of free software but the copying of fee-based software is banned, among other advantages for developers. Such software is often cheap at one to two dollars per download and is easily accessible by users around the world. App Stores have rekindled the Korean software industry, which has remained in the doldrums for years. More success stories are hoped to come.

Editorial Writer Hong Kwon-hee (konihong@donga.com)