Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

April 20, 2014 - 1:24:35 am
People access the Internet on their phones using wi-fi hotspot in Bangalore. 

NEW DELHI: Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped smartphone market.

Inflexionpoint, an information technology supply company co-founded by Sculley, will start selling the smartphones next month in India under the new Obi Mobiles brand, the Singapore-based firm said in a statement. 

“The smartphone share in India is only 20 percent, leaving the larger part of the ground with opportunities yet to be tapped,” said Sculley, 75.

Sculley, who served as chief executive of Apple from 1983 to 1993, famously clashed with technical visionary Steve Jobs over strategy, leading to the Apple co-founder’s exit from the company. Jobs, who returned to head up Apple in 1997 and turned out a string of blockbuster products, died in 2011 after battling cancer.

Inflexionpoint plans to set up a supply chain, design centre and offices in India, producing “affordable smartphones with superior technology”, Sculley said.

Smartphone shipments in India tripled from 16.2 million in 2012 to 44 million in 2013, International Data Corporation says, and analysts expect similar growth this year. “We feel there’s an opportunity to build another brand in India that would combine global branding skills... (and) go into price points more like the local brands — in the Rs5,000 to Rs8,000 ($83 to $133) range,” Sculley said.

He gave few details of the devices which will be joining a crowded range of offerings except that they will boast the “latest technology” and will be sourced from China.” After setting up in India, the company aims to expand to other growing markets in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. Sculley added his old company, Apple, now faced a dilemma over whether to lower product prices to compete in emerging markets. AFP

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