GOOGLE TO ALSO REPEAT APPLE’S MISTAKE IN INDIA

The article’s Hindi version appeared on iChowk.

Google has launched its much talked about range of Pixel smartphones. Pixel smartphones will be available in two sizes – Pixel and Pixel XL. The phones are open for pre-order booking in US, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia. Other markets will follow. In India, Pixel will be available for pre-order on October 13.

Pixel is the first serious challenge for Apple from Google in the smartphone hardware, the segment that has made Apple the most valuable company globally. Two-third of Apple’s profit comes from iPhone. Pixel has been designed and produced by Google and Google is publicizing it with ‘Made By Google’ tag (there is a website as well – https://madeby.google.com/intl/en_in/phone/) while Google’s earlier trysts with smartphone hardware, i.e., Motorola’s acquisition and Nexus outsourcing, were basically experimental platforms to fine-tune its operating system Android, now the world’s most used OS. They were never in race with iPhone for any slot.

pixel-madebygoogle

But now Google is going to repeat the same mistake which Apple has done.

iPhone is globally the most profitable phone brand and Apple is in Indian market for a long time now yet sale of Apple products including iPhone and Apple revenue in India is still 1% of its global performance.

The reason is its elitist (read absurd) pricing which is totally out of place in a price-sensitive market like India. The most premium and high-end smartphones in India are available in the range of Rs. 50,000-60,000 but if we see the overall picture, Rs. 10,000-30,000 is the most in-demand range for smartphones here whereas iPhone’s range for its latest offering (iPhone7) starts at Rs. 60,000 and goes upto Rs. 92,000.

This is in a country where the per capita income in 2015-16 was still Rs. 7774.

Now that Apple is seeing decline in iPhone sales in its growth driver China and stagnation in its other developed markets like US, UK or Europe, it needs a market like India, the world’s second biggest smartphone market. But Apple can never succeed in India at this price-range. Apple still wants to maintain iPhone’s ‘super-pricey’ tag in the Indian market. While that can sustain iPhone’s image of being a luxury brand, it will never allow Apple to become a big market player here.

And now Google is going to adopt the similar branding mantra.

Google Pixel starts at Rs. 57,000 in India and goes up to Rs. 76,000. We can only expect that Google Pixel will become another iPhone at this unjustifiably high price-range in India although cracking the Indian market is more imperative for Google than Apple.

Except India, Apple’s iPhone is the biggest brand in US, China and every other big market and earns maximum profit even if its market-share on unit shipments may not be the largest one in many markets. So, Apple commands a premium return. Now, Google will have to face Apple and other established brands including Samsung, the largest selling cellphone brand globally, in these markets. As Apple has a nearly non-existent presence in India, the country can be the big opportunity for Google to start on a solid base that it needs to take on Apple globally. And Google’s strong brand perception can come handy here.

Google is among the most valuable and strong brands. We can gauge its brand prowess by the fact that internet search has become synonymous with the term ‘google or googling’ and we should not be surprised if the term gets dictionary space in future. Its OS Android has 97% market-share in India – an absolute domination that tells us that almost every smartphone in India uses Android as its OS. So Google has already this software ecosystem advantage in the Indian market but given the price-range that it has chosen for its Pixel range of phones, it is never going to succeed on the hardware front. It is never going to get those volumes that any new business venture needs.

According to a report by Counterpoint Research, India has 220 million smartphone users and the Indian smartphone market has become the world’s second largest leaving behind the US market. But if we see the population penetration here, it is still at around 20% of the overall mobile subscription base in the country that is at 1.1 billion. From feature phones to smartphones – with a faster growth rate – that presents a huge opportunity.

Since India is the fastest growing smartphone market with 17% growth rate that is projected to increase further and its overall mobile subscription base is projected to reach at 1.4 billion by 2021 and as Indians are expected to buy around 150 million smartphones this year, Apple or Google or any other company can ignore the Indian market at its own peril. If Samsung and other companies have been able to crack the Indian market, it is because they have kept its price sensitivity on top of their marketing strategy – launching models and variants at every price point.

©SantoshChaubey

APPLE’S PARCHED ORCHARD IN INDIA

Does Apple’s presence and the subsequent marketing strategy make any sense in India?

No!

Few months ago, when Apple CEO Tim Cook was in India, he stressed that Apple is betting big on India and is preparing for the day when India would become the next China of the smartphone revolution. He said that India is at same juncture in telecom revolution where China was some 7 to 10 years ago.

Yes, India is going to be the next big thing in telecom after America and China. It has already replaced America as the market having second largest smartphone user base. And since it has immense untapped potential, it is going to be the darling of whole world, including companies from America and China – either for hardware or software.

India’s smartphone user base is at 220 million while the number of mobile subscriptions in the country has reached to 1.1 billion is expected to scale up to 1.4 billion by 2021. Going by the base 220 million smartphone users, the smartphone penetration in India is still at 20% of the overall mobile phone subscription.

So, that is huge..huge opportunity.

Smartphone shipments to India grew at over 20% the last year. This year, India is expected to buy around 150 million smartphones. According to some estimates, the smartphone bases is projected to cross 700 million mark by 2020. It may be even faster than that as technological advancements are on the verge of making Indian telecom a data driven market. Smartphone prices are rapidly coming down, especially of 4G and LTE enabled devices. And as the Indian government is betting big on smartphones to drive its digital governance plan, it is just waiting to happen.

Now if Tim Cook sees India market where Chinese telecom sector was some 7 to 10 years ago, that would be, but India may bridge this gap much sooner than he would have calculated. It may be by 2019 or 2020.

Since Apple went on to increase falling prices of its iphone 6, 6S and 5S to further beef up its luxury brand perception and has launched iPhone 7 at the same price points, from Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 92,000, it seems Apple and Tim Cook have miscalculated the time when India would be finally ready to take off, as was the case with China.

Indian smartphone market has already taken off. Most of the new and replacement mobile phones are going to be smartphones as data prices have come crushingly low with the entry of a new operator, Reliance Jio, that has announced to charge only for data (and not for voice).

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey 

HOW BLACKBERRY LOST THE PLOT

BlackBerry, once the darling of Canada, America and the corporate world elsewhere (including India) has declared that it would not be making smartphones anymore. The company said it would now focus on its software business and would outsource the handset manufacturing requirements. So if a new BlackBerry handset comes in the market, it would, per se, be not a BlackBerry – because BlackBerry was always a package deal. Its success was steered as much by its communication software as it was by its niche smartphones that made it a ‘must have’ for the corporate world.

BlackBerry also died in the wave that came with iPhone, Samsung phones and Android iOS, like Nokia, though the basics were different.

BlackBerry was always a smartphone company with its encrypted software solutions that made it a must have gadget for the corporate honchos, but something that ultimately became its nemesis. Communication is the mainstay of any business operation and BlackBerry targeted it. The strategy paid rich dividends initially. Its parent company, Research In Motion’s (RIM) shares zoomed to an all time high in 2008 and Fortune had declared RIM as the fastest growing tech company in 2009.

But that was it. It was a rapid decline after it.

The corporate and enterprise focus that had brought glory to BlackBerry soon became a black-hole for it that made every attempt to redo its strategies void – because the company was still roaming in the wilderness of mobile phone devices with efficient messaging and communication platforms (but not beyond it) while the new entrants were rapidly ramping up the mobile phone marketplace with handheld computing devices that would act as all-serving entertainment hubs – be it messaging or emails or chats or complete web browsing or a never ending app ecosystem fuelling further interest and engagement.

BlackBerry saw corporate consumers and enterprises as its base while companies like Apple, Samsung and Google saw consumers in everyone – be it a business leader or a politician or a celebrity or a common man. And their product offerings were designed keeping them in mind. They were able to cater to every class of consumer. So when a CEO found that an iPhone or a Samsung phone with Android iOS could have provided the comfort of communication that a BlackBerry device would provide and at the same time would also act as a handheld computing device offering a world of entertainment, he immediately switched to it. And BlackBerry’s fall shows it, indeed, was the case.

So, the company that was the fastest growing tech company of 2009, was sold for less than $5 Billion in 2013 and it still hovering in the range of a market cap of $5 Billion – a meteoric fall from a high of $83 Billion worth of market cap.

Though BlackBerry was a masterly combination of hardware and software, like Nokia, it failed to read the pulse of the market. Like Nokia, by the time BlackBerry realized where it erred, it had become too late. Nokia failed to move on from feature phones to smartphones while BlackBerry failed to move on from corporate-centric smartphones to people-centric handheld entertainment hubs. It clung to its trademark Qwerty smartphones too long, compromising on screen size and touch function, features that were going to be the next common in the smartphone market. By the time BlackBerry launched its first full touch-screen smartphone, it had become too late and BlackBerry’s move was seen as nothing but a poor Apple imitation attempt.

©SantoshChaubey

HOW NOKIA LOST THE PLOT

It was in November 2014 when the Nokia CEO officially announced that Nokia would not be making cellphones anymore. Though it didn’t happen globally and Microsoft bought Nokia, the brand could not be revived. Microsoft experimented with Nokia, first as Nokia, then as Lumia. It also tried a layered formula – Nokia for feature phones and Lumia for smartphones.

The catch was to develop a cellphone OS version of the world’s most successful computer OS, Microsoft’s Windows. Two years down the line, now there is a very real possibility that Microsoft would soon issue the official line that is shutting down its phone making operations.

Nokia was the global handset leader for 14 years till April 2014 when Samsung outdid it becoming the world’s largest handset maker. Since then it is all the Samsung and Apple. In fact, Apple’s entry in the smartphone market in 2007 was the beginning of the end for Nokia. Apple saw a meteoric rise. And so Samsung who rode the Android wave with Google, the most innovative of the tech giants, launching first Android OS (Android 1.0) in September 2008.

So, Apple had finesse and panache and Samsung had versatility of Android, but Nokia had none.

When the road ahead was clearly going to be smartphoned, Nokia was still banking on its feature phones. It didn’t develop fast and beautiful products like iPhone and iOS or versatile products like Samsung’s smartphone range or Google iOS.

By the time it realized its fault, the damage was already done and any chance to recovery was beyond any threshold of redemption. Android was free for everyone but Nokia failed to see the opportunity even if its Symbian OS with shabby and unacceptable apps looked archaic in front of iOS and Android – functionally as well as aesthetically.

Now, in 2016, Apple is the most profitable cellphone maker. Google’s Android is the most widely used OS. And Samsung is still the largest cellphone maker by volumes of sale and shipment.

While Nokia is still looking for some lease of life, this time trying to collaborate with a Finnish business outfit that will manufacture the Nokia brand cellphones and Nokia will get royalty.

©SantoshChaubey

HOW NOKIA AND BLACKBERRY GOT IT ALL WRONG

It was in November 2014 when the Nokia CEO officially announced that Nokia would not be making cellphones anymore. Though it didn’t happen globally and Microsoft bought Nokia, the brand could not be revived. Microsoft experimented with Nokia, first as Nokia, then as Lumia. It also tried a layered formula – Nokia for feature phones and Lumia for smartphones.

The catch was to develop a cellphone OS version of the world’s most successful computer OS, Microsoft’s Windows. Two years down the line, now there is a very real possibility that Microsoft would soon issue the official line that is shutting down its phone making operations.

Nokia was the global handset leader for 14 years till April 2014 when Samsung outdid it becoming the world’s largest handset maker. Since then it is all the Samsung and Apple. In fact, Apple’s entry in the smartphone market in 2007 was the beginning of the end for Nokia. Apple saw a meteoric rise. And so Samsung who rode the Android wave with Google, the most innovative of the tech giants, launching first Android OS (Android 1.0) in September 2008.

So, Apple had finesse and panache and Samsung had versatility of Android, but Nokia had none.

When the road ahead was clearly going to be smartphoned, Nokia was still banking on its feature phones. It didn’t develop fast and beautiful products like iPhone and iOS or versatile products like Samsung’s smartphone range or Google iOS.

By the time it realized its fault, the damage was already done and any chance to recovery was beyond any threshold of redemption. Android was free for everyone but Nokia failed to see the opportunity even if its Symbian OS with shabby and unacceptable apps looked archaic in front of iOS and Android – functionally as well as aesthetically.

Now, in 2016, Apple is the most profitable cellphone maker. Google’s Android is the most widely used OS. And Samsung is still the largest cellphone maker by volumes of sale and shipment.

While Nokia is still looking for some lease of life, this time trying to collaborate with a Finnish business outfit that will manufacture the Nokia brand cellphones and Nokia will get royalty.

Today brought another news of another mobile phone world leader of its time going out of the business.

BlackBerry, once the darling of Canada, America and the corporate world elsewhere (including India) today declared that it would not be making smartphones anymore. The company said it would now focus on its software business and would outsource the handset manufacturing requirements.

BlackBerry also died in the wave that came with iPhone, Samsung phones and Android iOS though the basics were different. BlackBerry was always a smartphone company with its encrypted software solutions that made it a must have gadget for the corporate honchos, something that ultimately became its nemesis. Communication is the mainstay of any business and BlackBerry targeted it. The strategy paid rich dividends initially. Its parent company, Research In Motion’s (RIM) share zoomed to an all time high in 2008 and Fortune had declared RIM as the fastest growing tech company in 2009.

But that was it.

The corporate and enterprise focus that had brought glory to BlackBerry, soon became a black-hole for it that made every attempt to redo its strategies void – because the company was still roaming in the wilderness of mobile phone devices with efficient messaging and communication platforms while the new entrants were rapidly ramping up the mobile phone market to handheld computing devices that would act as all-serving entertainment hubs – be it messaging or emails or chats or complete web browsing or a never ending app ecosystem fuelling interest and engagement.

BlackBerry saw corporate consumers and enterprises as its base while companies like Apple, Samsung and Google saw consumers in everyone – be it a business leader or a politician or a celebrity or a common man. And their product offerings were designed keeping them in mind. They were able to cater to every class of consumer. So when a CEO found that an iPhone or a Samsung phone with Android iOS could have provided the comfort of communication that a BlackBerry device would provide and at the same time, would also act as a handheld computing device offering a world of entertainment, he immediately switched to it. And BlackBerry’s fall shows it, indeed, was the case.

So, the company that was the fastest growing tech company of 2009, was sold for less than $5 Billion in 2013 and it still hovering in the range of a market cap of $5 Billion – a meteoric fall from a high of $83 Billion worth of market cap.

Though BlackBerry was a masterly combination of hardware and software, like Nokia, it failed to read the pulse of the market. Like Nokia, by the time BlackBerry realized where it erred, it had become too late. Nokia failed to move on from feature phones to smartphones while BlackBerry failed to move on from corporate-centric smartphones to people-centric handheld entertainment hubs.

nokia-blackberry-sept28

Featured Image Courtesy: Screenshots collage from BlackBerry and Nokia websites

©SantoshChaubey

ONLINE PIRACY: CINEMA GOING IS A SOCIAL HABIT

Going to theatres to watch films is a social habit and by the growing number of films doing business over Rs. 100 Crore, we can say online film piracy has not hurt this habit so badly as is projected.

In fact, the Box Office collection trend has shifted the business threshold for the blockbuster films to a much higher value – Rs. 500 Crore.

A good case in point here is the major Hollywood hits.

Any major Hollywood film that is released in India has its good print already available to download from the internet. In spite of that they do good BO business. The Revenant is a 2015 Hollywood hit that was released in India in February 2016 and in spite of that it earned Rs. 3.5 Crore in its opening weekend, an impressive figure for a Hollywood film in India.

Interstellar, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road were the five most pirated Hollywood films of 2015. Yet they were the major BO blockbusters of the year.

Similarly in 2014, again the most pirated films – The Wolf of Wall Street, Frozen, RoboCop, Gravity and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – were notable global BO earners.

Back in India, the country’s most expensive film till date, Baahubali, that is also credited with having the highest BO collections so far, had seen its ‘good quality’ print pirated online within no time of the theatrical release. Yet the film went on to become a favourite on the ticket windows.

People who enjoy free time with films will always do so in the theatres – and they like to do so in the first week of the release of a film – with family – with children – with friends. For many, cinema going is a social pastime with good picnicking experience. They make plans for it in advance. Cinema going, in fact, is one of the most routine weekend activity in all societies.

According to a Deloitte report, a film in India earns as much as 60% of its total BO collection it the first week of its release. And a good business, increasing BO collection of the major hits and an ever increasing threshold of the revenue minted at the ticket windows support this finding.

Yes, there is always this expectation that the film could have earned much more had it not been pirated online. But filmmakers should see that as an ‘opportunity cost’ that they need to bear because online piracy ensures an unbeatable word of mouth publicity with a global outreach that no marketing machinery can match.

They, in fact, should see it as an added advantage, because practically it is impossible to check and curb online piracy of films. If regulators block 100 sites, thousands more crop-up. And a server making some content available in India may be based in any country that makes it impossible for the law enforcement agencies to proceed in the matter.

Though there is no empirical data, we can say that online piracy with its buzzword around a film helps many to make up their mind about going to a cinema to watch that film.

©SantoshChaubey

AFTER AMAZON, SNAPDEAL DOES THE SAME!

So here I am again.

A week after writing my previous two articles on logistical operations at Amazon India.

The first was on my embarrassing experience with Amazon India’s logistics arrangements with its ‘subscribe and save’ category.

The second one was on how no one from Amazon, Amazon India and Jeff Bezos responded to my articles even if I tagged them on Twitter and posted the same on Amazon’s Facebook extensions.

You can find those articles on the hyperlinked words above.

The second article I had written on May 29. So its eight days to that development now and no response so far has come from Amazon.

Meanwhile, I have had a similar experience with Snapdeal to add to the developing contours of my writings on this subject.

And irrespective of whether I get response or not, I would again tag Amazon (and this time Snapdeal also) and their bosses to see if they respond now.

Additionally, I am sending a questionnaire to some professors of Supply Chain Management to understand the logic behind this mode of delivery on the most important aspect of any E-commerce business – its logistics operations.

To understand how duplication (and thus wastage) of resources (including manpower hours) is justified by sending multiple items of a same order on different days! It has been like – one order, one day – at a time. Whenever it has been like more than two products were delivered on a same day, these were by different people.

Amazon-Snapdeal

The same routine is being repeated even this month – that I wrote and complained about last month.

There has been no change.

To make my points more reflective, I tried this today – I measured size of the cartons and the products they carried. To put my point here, I am attaching a collage photograph of the products delivered from Amazon and Snapdeal.

What is interesting here that Amazon delivered two products of similar dimensions – Colin and Lifebuoy Handwash, that you can see in the photograph – in different cartons. The box size was 38*32 cms. The products dimensions were 28*15 cms and 28*9 cms. So, both products should have been delivered in the same carton. That would have saved a box – with all its packaging material, the inventory space that the raw material for it took and the cost it incurred.

Imagine the scale of wastage if the same is repeated with millions of products!

Similar experience was there in store by Snapdeal.

I had placed an order for three items – three different products – but all were from the ‘food items’ category. All three were delivered on different dates. One of these orders was for three bottles of jam – strawberry, mango and berry. The three jam bottles of same dimension were packed in different boxes. One of these boxes had its bottle broken and its content was spilled all over. I placed a return order immediately but there has been no update on it and its three days now.

At least Amazon is miles ahead here. The ‘return experience’ has been overwhelmingly good with Amazon India (so far).

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY HAD TIM COOK COME TO INDIA?

We cannot take that something drove Tim Cook and he took an Indian sojourn just for that.

We cannot say but he is certainly not in the kind of circumstances (and his Indian itinerary suggests this as well), that he would be forced (by his inner call) to look for spiritual solace of Orientalism – like his company’s defining soul, Steve Jobs, had done.

We also cannot say, again based on his entourage, his itinerary and his engagements that he was here, in this country, for a planned or random tourism trip.

But then, how can we take on the face value, the implicit and explicit contours of his long India visit, spread over four days – for the specific purpose of promoting Apple’s business interests in India – given the facts that the sum total of the purpose of his visit was restricted to emphasizing on those very measures which have pushed Apple to the periphery of India’s tech market – including the blockbuster segment of smartphones?

If Apple has just around 2 per cent market segment in India’s smartphone market, projected to be second largest soon (globally), it is Apple’s own doing – with a blind race to establish iPhone as a super-premium model.

And the way Apple decided to do it – was reflective of how it treated India.

First, it would create a false impression of exclusivity by keeping a large market like India in the last rounds of iPhone launch.

Then, it would price iPhone astronomically high, making it, again, an exclusive possession of the very few, even if it was available on lower price points in other markets.

And above all, it tried to dump its old models in India – as if Indians were not able to afford its latest launches. It always sent the message that Apple considered India a market only for its obsolete models – or a market for refurbished iPhones.

When every other company, including Samsung and the Chinese vendors, see India as a market with immense potential and make it a point to announce global launches simultaneously in India. They even launch specific models for the Indian market.

By the time Apple realized where it erred, it had become too late. This long visit by Tim Cook, after the first ever dip in iPhone sales, shows that. Because it came too late.

Or Apple has really realized where it erred?

It doesn’t seem so.

Especially after the indications that we are getting after Tim Cook’s high-flying socializing and strategising stopovers in India.

Reports say the main focus of Tim Cook’s India visit was convincing the Indian government about its refurbished iPhone business and setting up Apple stores without the mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing clause.

These are again shabby and ‘poor in taste’ elements and emphasize Apple’s superiority complex (if I take the liberty to use the term) – the very elements that have pushed Apple to a marketing oblivion in India.

And, if this was really the intent of Tim Cook’s India vision, then it was so poorly thought. While others companies tried to own the Indian market in order to win it, the basic of any marketing strategy, Apple disowned the Indian customer – as if he never figured in the their scheme of things.

But if it was not so – then the million dollar question is – why Tim Cook made this India visit?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EXPECTED AMAZON RESPONSE ON “WOULD AMAZON SUBSCRIBE TO THIS ON ‘SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE’?”

While writing my longish mail on Amazon ‘Subscribe and Save’ category and tweeting it to Amazon, Amazon India and Jeff Bezos Twitter handles, I had not expected a prompt reply. It was based on my previous experiences. I have done this exercise with many companies – on some issue related to them. So far, my best experience has been with Dell India – its customer services team and its social media extensions.

And about my worst -well, there are many and picking a particular one is difficult. But if I am asked to pick one -I would say Eureka Forbes.

After consistently following multiple times, through phone and Facebook extension, I was forced to hang up, but the Eureka Forbes folks refused to buzz from their eternal slumber. Apart from many product and service related issues, I was not sent even my receipt that I was promised after making an online purchase for an Aquaguard Enhance water purifier (along with a freebie, that, too, never came).

And though a response from Amazon India over phone line has been efficient so far, its Facebook version was dull, and on the line seen so far, with so many companies.

I posted my write-up on the issue I am facing on Amazon India’s Facebook page. Obviously, it was the headline followed the link of the write-up. Soon, a message popped up, a reply from some guy entrusted to monitor Amazon India’s Facebook page. On expected, worn-out line, the person told me that ‘I needed to be specific’ in what I wanted to say.

Well, what can I say on this!

We folks spend so much time on writing about issues we face and expect that the concerned organization would at least take the pain to read them.

Well, I don’t know if that happened.

Because there was no further reply from any Amazon staff after I wrote back requesting that the person should open the link attached where I had written ‘very specifically’ about the problem I was facing.

And it was when it was not an outright criticism – but a suggestion along with conveying a potential problem that may see more of it in the days ahead.

AmazonFacebook

And on Twitter?

Well, here again, I tagged Twitter IDs of Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Amazon India and Amazon Help along with my write-up’s link.

But no response has come so far and its almost 24 hours now.

AmazonTwitter

Yes it was a weekend and there might be slippages but it looks quite awkward given the fact that there would be dedicated social media teams, even for Jeff Bezos Twitter handle.

It is not about Amazon or some other company’s track record of resolving problem(s) associated with services/products on offer. Most of the time they fail.

I hope it will not be this time given Amazon India’s track record and given the fact that E-commerce or online retail cannot dominate a business scene if it is not customer friendly.

I do this exercises randomly to get some handy information about how companies are treating their customers – about their marketing communication and public interface practices in a B2C environment of E-commerce that is slated to grow manifold.

Most of the companies and their honchos fail here, some miserably.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S NO TO APPLE’S REFURBISHED PLANS

Apple has received a big jolt to its efforts to capture a dignified share in the Indian smartphone market.

As reported, the Indian government has rejected Apple’s plans to sell refurbished iPhones in India.

Now, selling old iPhone – Apple may see that as a viable strategy, and the company sells refurbished iPhones in some markets including the US

But it was never a good idea to try it in India.

Especially after the fact that Apple has goofed up badly on its India strategy.

And the most direct way to say it is – Apple has not treated India as a dignified market so far.

India, the third largest smartphone market, that would overtake next year Apple’s home market in US, that is now almost saturated, is a priority market for everyone – not just in the telecom segment.

The market with over 1000 million mobile connections but with just 225 million smartphone users is a market with an enormous potential to tap. And it has not happened in a day.

What India is today for telecom players (including cellphone manufactures), China was five years ago. And companies with a major presence in India saw that and have invested significantly here, creating their base.

None of them have undermined India – unlike Apple.

And now Apple is paying the price. Or to say, it is the beginning of the bad phase for the largest corporation of the world.

The US has no growth prospects for iPhone as it has already an absolute domination there. We will see an increasingly hostile China as Chinese companies go global with their smartphone ambitions. In fact, as per the latest data on global shipment of smartphones, three companies out of top five are Chinese – Huawei, Oppo and Vivo – at 3,4, and 5.

That growing realization has forced Apple to now look for a wider presence in India.

But the million dollar question is – can Apple raise its share to a dignified level, from the current 2% – in a market that it thought was not smart enough to appreciate its globe-trotting iPhone?

Apart from a few, majority of the consumers don’t view iPhone positively. For them, buying an iPhone has never been a value proposition, especially when Indian customers see that Apple launches iPhone in India in the last tranche of its shipments, after catering to every other market; especially when they see the same iPhone has been priced much higher in India; and especially when they see other elite smartphones priced much lower and launched at the same time in India as the other markets.

In fact, many who can afford iPhone don’t go for it because its bloated price from them is a sheer waste of money.

Apple intended to establish iPhone as the most premium smartphone brand in India and deliberately kept it out of reach of majority by maintaining price barriers. That sent a message that Apple was never in sync with Indian sensitivities and overlooked the Indian customer.

And Apple cannot replenish its fortunes by sustaining with that strategy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/