Even as the government is facing a lot of lobbying against allowing Apple to sell refurbished iPhones in India, CEO Tim Cook hasn t given up on hopes as yet. In an interview with The Hindu, Cook said that he was hoping his company s idea would get a fair hearing and that the government and Apple can reach to an agreement. He also briefly touched upon the controversial proposed geospatial bill that makes it mandatory for maps service providers to get licence from the government before operating in India. Also Read - Apple TV+ free trial will now be available for 3 months instead of a year: What to do?Also Read - Apple Beats Studio Buds launched: AirPods for Android devices
Backing the idea of selling pre-owned products in the country, Cook pointed out that brands such as Lexus and Mercedes have been selling certified pre-owned cars. We have this programme in the U.S.and in most parts of the world. When they are sold they are sold with warranty, just like a new product. We would never sell a product that we didn t think was right. We think it is good for people, he further said. Also Read - Apple introduces iOS 12.5.4 with major security updates: Is your iPhone on the list?
His visit to India comes at a time when the company s revenues in the West and China have softened whereas the India figures have been really encouraging. Last quarter India saw a 56 percent growth in iPhone sales year-on-year. According to a research by Canalys, Apple is one of the fastest growing brands in India. This is perhaps why Tim Cook and his team are so bullish on India for its future growth.
From joining Make in India initiative, single brand retail stores to local partnerships, Apple is making sure its basics are right when it forays into India in a grander way. Among the several challenges the company faces is the premium price tag at which its iPhones are sold and the fact that the majority of the Indian smartphone market revolves around Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 price segment.
This is why Apple had been rooting to sell refurbished iPhones in India as that would have allowed the company to penetrate into the budget and mid-range segments. Also, it would be able to sell the latest though refurbished iPhones in that price segment. Right now its three year old iPhone 5s is selling in India like hotcakes as it is available in India for around Rs 20,000. But that would be a headache for Apple in a long run as it would eventually end providing software updates to the older generation iPhones.
It is worth pointing out here that the Apple’s rivals have been lobbying against granting Apple approvals to sell refurbished iPhones in India. An industry body, Mobile and Communications Council of India, backed by the likes of Micromax, Samsung and Intex had urged the government to reject Apple s application. The industry bodies and other smartphone players had said that allowing Apple to sell used smartphones in India would defeat the purpose of the Make in India initiative, and could turn India into an e-waste dump.
As far as the geospatial bill goes, Tim Cook expressed optimism to sort out all the issues. On maps, I am not sure about the objective there but I found the local authorities are very helpful and agile and keen to get foreign investment. I think if there is some issue they would be able to work through it, he said.
It’s notable that Apple has opened a new office in Hyderabad that is aimed at developing its Maps service. The office will create up to 4,000 jobs and will push the development of the Maps app on Apple products.
Earlier, the Indian government had proposed a draft law that if implemented will make it mandatory for maps services such as Google Maps and Apple Maps to get a licence from the government before operating in India. The draft law also proposed a penalty ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 100 crore and/or jail for up to seven years for violating the law. Following wide criticism, the Indian government did assure to tone down the draft bill.