Posted : 2012-10-23 20:30
Updated :  

Apple fires Korea’s country head

Dominique Oh
By Kim Yoo-chul

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, has dismissed its Korea country manager Dominique Oh, allegedly over sluggish sales of its products here.

"It is true that Dominique is no longer with us since last week," Apple spokesman Steve Park said by telephone, late Tuesday.

"We acknowledge that there are many speculations surrounding Oh's leaving, but we do not comment on internal matters," Park said.

The contract termination comes amid the deepening global patent war with its biggest client and rival Samsung Electronics. Apple failed to attack the lead of Samsung Electronics in the local smartphone market despite its ambitious launch of i-branded products.

Apple is also being criticized about its passive response to after-sales (AS) service policies, here, and the firm was always the target of many local iPhone users over its stiffer stance that’s not favorable even to loyal i-device users.

``It’s very rare for Apple to fire a senior executive ahead of a key product launch. Korea is the tomb for Apple executives,’’ said an official who is knowledgeable about Apple-related issues, asking not to be identified.

The official said the decision was unilateral. ``Oh wasn’t informed about the termination in advance,’’ he said.

Last year, Apple appointed Oh ― a former vice president of LG Electronics’ smartphone business ― as its country manager.

Before joining Apple, Oh oversaw LG’s Android and Windows Phone 7 product portfolios, as well as establishing relationships with global operators and potential partners.

Against impressive sales of its iPhone 4S, globally, Apple failed to raise its share in the local market because the iPhone 4s doesn’t offer the faster long-term evolution (LTE) mobile network. Korea has Internet literacy of above 95 percent.

``When you look at the entire market size, Korea is truly a graveyard for Apple,’’ said the official.

According to market research firm, Apple’s iOS software took up to a 9.3 percent share in Korea as of the end of June, this year, which is the lowest since Apple introduced its first iPhone, here, in November 2009.

But Google’s Android software upped its share to 89.7 percent during the first six months of this year thanks to stronger sales of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy line of devices.

SK Telecom and KT ― the nation’s top two mobile carriers and Apple’s authorized local partners to sell its products ― plan to introduce Apple’s iPhone 5 here sometime later this month.
관련 한글 기사

애플, 아이폰5 출시 앞두고 한국 대표 사임

도미니크 오 애플코리아 대표 최근 퇴사

애플이 ‘아이폰5’ 국내 출시를 앞두고 애플코리아 대표의 사표를 수리해 배경에 관심이 모아지고 있다.

23일 애플코리아에 따르면 도미니크 오 애플코리아 대표가 지난 주 대표직에서 물러났다. 애플코리아 대표는 현재 공석이다. 애플코리아는 영업조직이다. 때문에 애플은 지사장을 두지 않고 대표격인 제너럴 매니저(General Manager)를 둬왔다. 도미니크 오 대표의 공식 직함은 애플코리아 GM이다.

이에 대해 애플코리아 관계자는 “특별히 언급할 내용은 없다”라고 설명했다.

도미니크 오 대표는 지난해 4월 애플코리아 대표로 입사했다. 이전까지는 LG전자에서 휴대폰 관련 업무를 해왔다. 이번 사임은 일신상의 이유로 그가 먼저 사표를 제출한 것으로 알려졌다.

애플코리아는 도미니크 오 사장 취임 이후 PC와 태블릿PC MP3플레이어 등에서는 괄목할만한 성장을 이뤘다. 하지만 스마트폰 ‘아이폰4S’의 경우 국내 통신 시장이 롱텀에볼루션(LTE) 위주로 전환되면서 전작에 비해 그다지 좋은 성적을 내지 못했다.

한편 이번 인사에 대해 업계에서는 애플 특유의 조직 문화의 반영이라고 봤다. 신제품 출시를 앞두고 대대적 조직개편을 하는 것이 아니냐는 관측도 제기돼고 있다.

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