Sunday, June 2, 2013

Update :
Just want to point out that +Kevin Tofel from GigaOm has kindly responded to the article in the following community thread
In which he assured us that the writer had no bad intentions in writing the article.
I also would like to state that this piece was not meant as a personal attack to the writer but a criticism to the current state of tech media in general. A criticism that stemmed from the frustration that I and a number of my colleagues in the "emerging markets" share.

Yesterday, Erica Ogg wrote a piece on Gigaom with the following headline:

"Apple’s plan to make the iPhone more affordable in India is working — Tech News and Analysis"

In which she wrote:
"Apple, which has struggled to gain real traction for the iPhone in India, has seen sales of the smartphone rise by 300 to 400 percent in the last few months, according to data gathered by Credit Suisse. The sudden spike in sales for the device — going from about 70,ooo to 80,000 units sold per month to about 400,000 units sold in May — can be correlated to Apple recently offering payment plans and cash back incentives for local buyers."

Well, isn't that good news then? Doesn't that signal that Apple has finally cracked the way to push their devices in the emerging markets?

Here's what Times of India has to say about it:

"Good move? Not really.For, while the Apple CEO kowtowed in China with a promise of superior service, the company is misreading the Indian market by pushing a three-year-old product — a relic in tech terms, and one that has lost its lure in Europe and US that have upgraded to iPhone 4S, then iPhone 5, and are now waiting for the next generation — possibly, as rumours go, in a variety of colours, different sizes and low cost.Turning India into a dumping ground for out-of-fashion phones and pushing an old model in a competitive price bracket, when other brands are aggressively positioning their new products, is not the best strategy. It is only reflective of Apple's disdain, one that flourished under Steve Jobs, for India — a showcase for its end-of-life products rather than a destination for premium gadgets."

Quite the contrary to what our western friend wrote eh?

So to clear things up, I contacted my friend in India, +Prem Suraj to learn more about it and here's what the man on the ground said:

" Its the iPhone 4 that no one in the US or Europe would buy. "
Furthermore, he said,

" And they are not exactly very cheap. it costs more than the GS3 and a lot more than the Nexus 4. "

I then inquired him, how much exactly is Apple offering these 3 year old relics in India?

"Around $500"

Here's what the headline should've said:

Apple is selling end of life devices in India for around $500.

Would anyone have applauded Samsung had they tried to offer the original Galaxy S in India for $500?

I don't think so.

With that said, it's still not the most disturbing part of the article.

To add insult to injury, the writer wrote the following:

".. But the cashback incentives seem unique in India, a country where Apple devices are considered expensive"

That's just downright condescending.

It's like trying to paint a picture that India is full of broke ass folks who, unlike their American counterparts , couldn't afford to buy top of the line phones.

The reality is, the $850+ iPhone is not only expensive in India, it is expensive for anyone in the world.

Hence, people in markets like the US need their carriers to subsidize the price of the phone so they can afford it.

I wonder how many people at GigaOm paid $850 up front for their iPhones?

Let me reiterate,

The developing world does have its problems, but that doesn't mean that it's full of broke people who can't afford flagship devices.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 has been selling like hot cakes in India, as well as Indonesia, and other developing countries, where people have to pay at least $750 up front to buy them.

Now, let me ask you a quetion:

Between India, Indonesia and the US, which one  do you think has the least number of people who purchased the Note 2 at its full off contract price?

From the answer to that question let's try and answer the following:

which market is full of people who are too poor to pay for high end phones again?

Get your facts straight please.


What Apple is doing in the Indonesian market is even worse:

They're seling the 3GS for $300.

That's like HTC offering the HD2 in 2013 for three hundred bucks!