LG plans to sell iPhones in its South Korean physical stores, against Samsung's wishes
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LG's executives may believe that the closure of its smartphone division may be the best outcome for the company in the long run. However, it may still have ramifications in the immediate future, one of which concerns this OEM's chain of brick-and-mortar stores in its native South Korea.
These stores, known as "LG Best Shops" (approximate translation), typically exist to stock own-brand laptops, accessories, and smartphones - however, obviously, there will be none of the latter going forward. Now, the OEM reportedly plans to leverage this newly vacant shelf-space by offering it to Apple instead.
Therefore, LG may soon stock devices such as iPhones (albeit not MacBooks or Macs, so as not to detract from still-extant PCs such as the Gram series) in its Best Shops. However, according to a new Korea Herald report, Samsung has objected to these plans.
This company is also a household name in South Korea, and runs its own Best Shop counterparts to boot. It now claims that LG's intentions to fill its empty mobile device racks with iPhones violates an agreement between the two OEMs that either would only stock its own brands at their respective physical stores, in order to manage competition in this market.
However, LG reportedly asserts that this agreement was subject to "re-negotiation" in the event of major changes in circumstances - a wholesale exit from the smartphone market, for example. Therefore, should the new partnership with Apple proceed, it may be a major blow to Samsung's interests in its home country, particularly in terms of its share of the 5G smartphone market.
Currently, it is ranked fourth in the world, whereas Apple firmly occupies the #1 spot despite having released only 1 generation of iPhones with this connectivity. Therefore, a new sales channel for them in South Korean may be a new threat to Galaxy-series phones with the same in their own home country.