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Oh dear: Apple kicks out South Korea boss

Dominique Oh gets the push as iPhone struggles

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Apple kicked out its head honcho for South Korea just days before the grand unveiling of the much-anticipated iPad Mini and despite the upcoming launch of the iPhone 5 in the country, according to local reports.

General manager Dominique Oh was abruptly relieved of his duties last week, spokesman Steve Park told The Korea Times.

"We acknowledge that there are many speculations surrounding Oh’s contract termination. But we can’t do more, it’s just a simple fact," he added.

Oh joined Apple around 18 months ago, after five years at LG including a stint as corporate VP of its smartphone business and three years as European VP of its mobile phone operations.

Despite having a huge lead over its rivals in the tablet space – the iPad hitting a market share of around 70 per cent in Korea earlier this year – Apple has struggled to close the gap on its arch rival when it comes to smartphones.

Some stats put the iOS share of the mobile market at just 9 per cent in Korea with Samsung accounting for two-thirds of the market in the first half of 2012, according to the local Maeil Business Newspaper.

Given the maturity of the mobile market in South Korea, there have been suggestions that the lack of LTE support in the iPhone 4S has also contributed to Apple’s woes.

Ailing Taiwanese handset maker HTC has already been forced out of the Korean market with experts citing the strength of local players Samsung, LG and Pantech, especially in the LTE market, as a key factor.

Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. ®

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