Uber hit by multiple legal, regulatory issues over the last few days
Uber is continuing to have a turbulent week, with issues in a number of different cities and countries within the last few days. The driving service has been banned in Spain, Thailand, and India, with Vietnam also taking a close look at the company's practices, while the city of Portland, Oregon has filed a lawsuit to shutter the service within days of launch.
iPhone still a minor brand in region
Although no first-party stores are expected anytime soon, Apple is nevertheless engaging in a major retail expansion in India, according to a Times of India source. In coming months, the company is expected to help establish 500 new resellers, particularly in smaller cities such as Amritsar, Pathankot, Moga, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagpur, and Nasik. At the moment, Apple's strength is in bigger cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Chennai -- but even then it's a relatively marginal brand in the country, albeit one that has recently experienced significant growth.
OnePlus experience store in Beijing formally opens December 20
OnePlus is seemingly trying to make acquiring its smartphone and accessories easier to acquire in some markets, both online and offline. The company is apparently planning to allow OnePlus One invitation holders in India to buy the smartphone through Amazon's Indian operation, while OnePlus' first offline retail store is opening in China.
Outsourcing firm handled Apple tech support
A Bangalore, India-based company -- InfoSys -- is losing two key executives due to a scandal involving overbilling Apple, reports say. InfoSys is known to provide outsourced tech support services for Apple. The Economic Times of India says that InfoSys has fired the CFO of its business process outsourcing unit, Abraham Mathews, for violating the company's code of conduct. CEO Gautam Thakkar has reportedly resigned on "moral grounds," and will depart on November 30.
India's iVoice Enterprises blames Apple for collapse of early phone deal
In a case somewhat similar to the Mexican lawsuit that successfully argued that an earlier "iFone" trademark superseded Apple's mark, a company called iVoice Enterprises is India is challenging Apple's iPhone trademark. The company was at work on a low-cost mobile phone for India that was dubbed the "India phone" or "iFon," but never came to market as partners backed out and the deal collapsed shortly after Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007.
Listings for Apple TV, Philips television packages in India spotted
Philips has started to offer a new range of televisions in India, with the sets being made available bundled with the Apple TV. The collection, which will start from Rs 29,990 ($490) for the base model, will apparently include the Apple set-top box to provide smart TV functionality, as Philips attempts to cash in on holiday season sales in the country.
Yahoo software development center in Bangalore affected by layoffs
Yahoo is letting go of a number of employees based in India, it has been revealed. A software development center in Bangalore is said to be the only location being affected by company's layoff announcement today, as Yahoo attempts to consolidate its overseas offices down in order to become more efficient to run in the long term.
Factory at center of multi-billion dollar tax debt claimed owed to India
A Nokia manufacturing plant in India left out of the acquisition deal between Nokia and Microsoft will be closed on November 1. The Chennai facility, at the center of a tax dispute between Nokia and India and building devices under contract for Microsoft, will be closed following a lengthy asset freeze and extended court hearings held by the India tax authority.
Motorola starts directly selling Moto G from UK website
Motorola has updated its online store in the United Kingdom, giving citizens the ability to directly purchase devices directly from the manufacturer, rather than diverting sales to retailers. The updated site, spotted by Pocket-Lint, stocks the second-generation Moto G for £150 ($), with separate pages offering to register visitors for updates for the Moto 360 and new Moto X. Moto Maker is expected to become available on the UK site in the near future.
New iPhone pricing not yet revealed, may foreshadow revised China ship date
Apple's homepage for India has revealed that the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are to debut in the country on October 17, nearly a month after the US and first-wave countries' debut. The US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Puerto Rico will all get the iPhone on the first day of retail availability, September 19. China was to have been a part of that first wave, but the iPhone has been delayed there due to foot-dragging by regulatory agencies.
First Amazon Prime Air service could operate in Mumbai, Bangalore
Amazon's Prime Air drone delivery service will initially launch in India, according to a report. The retailer is allegedly preparing the service, which uses an army of automated flying drones to carry light parcels, to operate out of its warehouses in Mumbai and Bangalore, with a view to getting it up and operational this October.
Microsoft India tweet points to imminent Windows Phone 8.1 update release
Windows Phone 8.1 could be shipping to smartphones next month. A posting on Twitter by Microsoft India states the Windows Phone 8.1 update will "roll out to existing Windows Phone 8 users during the first two weeks of July," suggesting that features such as the long-awaited Cortana virtual assistant may reach consumers in the near future.
Initial wave of purchases to include free cases
The 8GB iPhone 5c has launched in India earlier than anticipated, according to the Times of India. The official retail price is 37,500 rupees, but Apple is said to be discounting that to 33,500 ($572). On top of this the company is offering a free case, but only as a limited-time bonus.
Will help fill in hole left by defunct iPhone 4
Apple is planning to launch the 8GB version of the iPhone 5c in India by early June, says the Times of India. The device will reportedly sell for around 35,000 to 37,000 rupees ($583 to $616) with a buyback offer, or about 2,000 less than the 16GB model currently costs. The introduction is necessary to fill in a gap left by the discontinued iPhone 4, which will soon make the 4S the cheapest iPhone option in India, as elsewhere. At the moment it's priced at 24,000 rupees after a buyback.
iPhone 4S, 8GB iPhone 5c may be filling in gaps
Apple has once again shut down production of the iPhone 4, reports say. The Times of India remarks that new supplies of the phone have ended for three leading trade partners in the country. Apple restarted iPhone 4 production earlier this year, in a bid to provide a cheaper option for regions where iPhones can be prohibitively expensive. One of the trade partners says that Apple is pulling the iPhone 4 out of all markets, something that may be backed by the disappearance of the device from Virgin Mobile USA early last month.
Rumored Samsung smart watch with cellular connection heads to India
Samsung's Gear Solo has been spotted for a second time, suggesting a launch of the standalone smart watch is on the way. The listing on Zauba, an Indian import data site, shows the device being transported from South Korea for "R & D" or research and development purposes, though the name has been tweaked from the original Gear Solo registration to the Gear 2 Solo instead.
Prices dip in Israel, New Zealand
Apple is raising iOS and Mac App Store prices in several countries, according to an email memo sent to developers. The hikes will impact Australia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa. Apple blames the change on fluctuations in exchange rates, which the company adjusts for on a regular basis.
Fine assessed for failure to provide documentation in a timely manner
Search engine giant Google has been fined 10 million rupee ($166,000) in India. The penalty has been levied by the nation's antitrust investigative body "for failure to comply with the directions given by the Director General (DG) seeking information and documents." The company is under investigation by India's Competition Commission (CCI), and may face $5 billion in fines for abusing its search engine dominance.
Indian Competition Commission investigating Google's search behaviors
Adding to Google's antitrust woes worldwide, the company is facing an investigation by India's Competition Commission (CCI) in which it may be found liable for up to $5 billion in fines. The investigation, already underway for three years, is similar to that in other countries in claiming that the search engine giant is abusing its industry-leading position and inserting Google services over those of competitors illicitly.
Rules obstacle to Apple Stores
In a bid to open official Apple Stores in the region, Apple is asking the Indian government to relax rules requiring companies to source 30 percent of their components from Indian firms, says the Business Standard. Apple management staff have reportedly met with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion officials for talks. The company's position is that iOS devices simply don't have enough hardware inside to be able to meet the 30 percent rule.
New conditions in India High Court appealed, should not affect purchase
The $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's phone business by Microsoft is still going ahead, and is still expected to complete sometime this quarter, the company has announced in a statement. The transfer of Nokia's Devices and Services division to Microsoft will continue, with the phone manufacturer claiming its tax issues in India will not delay Microsoft's purchase at all.
High cost of iPhone thought to be hurting Apple marketshare
Apple is planning to restart iPhone 4 production in order to sell the device in India, Indonesia, and Brazil, says India's The Economic Times. The paper cites three senior executives familiar with Apple's plans. Last month, there were indications that Apple would relaunch the iPhone 4 in India, but it was unclear if Apple was planning to restart manufacturing or just use unsold inventory. According to the Times, Foxconn has already begun building new units.
HP retries to gain footing in smartphone market with India launch
Hewlett Packard is slowly moving back to the smartphone market, starting with two voice-enabled tablets destined for India. The Slate 6 and the Slate 7 VoiceTab, with six-inch 1280x720 and seven-inch 1280x800 IPS displays respectively, will both run on Android 4.2 and provide typical voice calling services, as well as appearing to offer a mid-range tablet experience.
Would help fight lower-priced smartphones from Samsung, others
The Economic Times of India is reporting that Apple may relaunch the 8GB iPhone 4 into the Indian market as a low-cost iPhone model to battle cheaper smartphone rivals. It discontinued the model following the introduction of the iPhone 5c and 5s, retaining only the iPhone 4S as its entry-level model. If the report is true, Apple may price the relaunched iPhone 4 as low as 15,000 rupees (roughly $245 US) after trade-ins and other incentives.
iPad Air, Retina mini hit Indian market
Apple has launched the iPad mini with Retina display and the iPad Air in the Indian market. The new iOS tablets went on sale in the world's second-most populous country late last week, and they remain at a premium price point in a country with only gradually increasing purchasing power. The premium tablets -- part of a line that has consistently proved the world's best-selling slates -- are a continuation of Apple's efforts to carve out a space for itself in the Indian market, where its products are often much desired but typically out of the reach of many consumers.
High prices of Apple phones a barrier
Apple is planning to launch a special trade-in program in India that would allow people to put non-Apple smartphones toward the cost of an iPhone 5c or 4S, according to local publication Business Today. A specific list of phones will be eligible, including the Nokia Lumia 925; the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10; the HTC Desire 500, Desire 600, One Mini, and One Dual-SIM; the Samsung Galaxy Mega, S4 Mini, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Note 3; and finally, the Sony Xperia C, Xperia ZR, Xperia Z, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Ultra. Apple's own iPhone 4 will of course also be an option.
Reliance now carrying iPhone 5s and 5c on contract
For the first time ever, iPhone fans in India will be able to buy Apple's phones in a subsidized manner. Reliance Communications, India's third-largest telecom, is now offering the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on contract, according to The Wall Street Journal. The carrier's decision to offer a contract option signals a willingness to try again in an arena that has proved difficult to maintain in India.
First fully-subsidized iPhone offered in India.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have gone on sale in 12 more countries, following its original launch on September 20th and later expansion to 28 more countries on October 25th. India, one of the new countries to receive the Apple smartphones, will now have its first fully-subsidized iPhone on sale as part of a new contract.
Subsequent rollout phase set for November 1st
The iPhone 5s and 5c will launch in over 28 more countries on October 25th, Apple has announced. Italy, Russia, and Spain have been identified as the main launch regions that day, but the list also includes countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and Thailand. On November 1st, still another 12-plus countries will be added, including India, Mexico, and Turkey.
Company turns to franchise model to help expand retail presence
According to sources present at a confidential meeting between Apple India executives and the CEOs of 20 top retailers, the iPhone maker has bold plans to create 100 standalone franchise stores in the top 50 second- and third-tier markets in the country, and will also create "store within a store" (SWAS) experiences for smaller markets in a new partnership with India's top smartphone and consumer electronics chains, since Apple does not yet have any official stores there.
US asks for most user data, followed by India, UK, Italy, Germany
Government agencies representing 74 countries requested details from 38,000 Facebook accounts in the first half of the year, the social network has revealed. Its first Global Government Requests Report, similar to transparency reports published by Microsoft and Google, shows the governments of the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany as making the largest numbers of requests for user data from Facebook for the period.
Suggests Chinese, Indians may be less receptive than anticipated
Apple is indeed adding a gold/champagne-colored iPhone to its lineup, sources in the Taiwanese supply chain tell Reuters. The newswire agency doesn't have any further details, but suggests that the option may not be as popular in China and India as has otherwise been suggested. Several people were interviewed in both countries; in China, people described the idea of a gold iPhone as "a little tacky," "for guys," or something that "might be very ugly."
On-the-ground analyst says number is 'grossly inaccurate'
A report for a stock analysis site who is based in India is challenging the findings of market researcher IDC on Apple's success -- or lack thereof -- in India. The data, reported in the Economic Times, claims the company sold only 120,000 iPhones between January and March 2013 -- however IDC's own estimate of Apple's marketshare in the country suggests that in fact it sold nearly double that number, around 210,000 iPhones (using total handset sales figures from Strategy Analytics). A report from Credit Suisse in May said Apple was selling nearly 400,000 iPhones per month during the same period.
Amazon shipping Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD to India later this month
Amazon has launched its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire HD tablets in India. Due to ship on June 27th, the Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite 3G will cost 10,999 rupees ($190) and 13,999 rupees ($240) respectively, while the Kindle Fire HD tablets are listed as 15,999 rupees ($276) for the 7-inch model, and 21,999 ($380) for the 8.9-inch version. The expansion to India follows a similar move by the retailer into China late last week.
Apple using payment plans, trade-in programs to make iPhone affordable
According to a report from a Credit Suisse analyst, Apple is now selling nearly 400,000 iPhones per month in India -- a rise of 300 to 400 percent since the start of the year, and enough to garner second place in the smartphone race behind Samsung in the country. The key to the change, analyst Sunil Tirumalai said in a note to investors, was changing the iPhone's image in the country to seem more affordable -- mainly by introducing discounts, trade-in programs and equal monthly payment (EMI) plans that have spurred sales on both the older and latest iPhone models.
American Express rebate, trade-in offer highlight deals
Apple is making some moves to make its iPhone line more affordable in India. Deals sponsored by Apple with partners include credit card rebates, trade-in discounts, subsidies, and modified payment plans. As a result of the plans, analysts expect "significant growth" in the region.
Samsung quickly copies plan in effort to counter Apple
Apple has taken second place in the large and growing smartphone market in India by using a clever workaround on its pricing. While offering its iPhones at roughly the same prices worldwide, in the India market the company is now employing a "trade-in" promotion with its reseller partners that has tripled sales in the space of a week. The lowest-priced model -- the iPhone 4 -- is now outselling the iPhone 5 as buyers trade in old smartphones for a discount of at least 7,000 Rupee ($129) off the $488 price of the iPhone 4.
Google puts Nexus 7 on sale in Indian Google Play store
Google has opened up the Nexus 7 to pre-order in India, ahead of the April 5th release date. The Google Play store lists the tablet at 16,000 rupees ($295) for 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, reports ZDnet, and will have the same 32GB option seen in other territories available to purchase. A version with mobile data access is not currently listed in the store.
Apple aiming to deepen Indian footprint
Apple is planning to triple the number of resellers in India to about 200 by 2015, say three franchisee sources reached by the Times of India. The people say Apple has asked them to scale up operations to match the company's aggressive expansion plans. On top of an increased number of resellers, Apple is also reportedly looking at growing its presence in regular, multi-brand stores.
Credit given to 'mom-and-pop' retail sales
The iPhone is now the second-most popular smartphone in India, having achieved a 15.6 percent share in Q4, according to IDC data reported by CNN. The shift is attributed to Apple finally accommodating the "mom-and-pop" stores that dominate the Indian electronics market, instead of depending solely on carriers and major resellers. Samsung remained on top of the local smartphone market in Q4 at 38.8 percent, while Sony was in third at 9.4 percent. CNN notes that in the previous quarter, the iPhone wasn't even in the top five.
Company pursuing more aggressive marketing
Apple has managed to grow sales in India about 300 to 400 percent in three months, according to the Times of India. The paper notes that after long neglecting the country, Apple has begun a hard marketing campaign for the iPhone, steering away from a previous strategy which relied on local cellphone carriers. Convergence Catalyst founder Jayanth Kolla remarks that as little as six months ago, Apple India employed only 30 or so people; the division now has closer to 150.
Mapathon 2013 to use Google Map Maker for crowdsourcing
Google is looking towards accelerating its crowdsourcing cartography efforts by offering prizes to participants in India. The Mapathon 2013 event from February 12th to March 25th will provide gifts, including devices and Google-branded merchandise, to the top 1000 users of Google Map Maker in India.
Team of 20 officials raid factory, operations continue unhindered
A factory in India that makes Nokia phones has been raided by tax authorities, according to reports. The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer's factory in Chennai was raided by 20 officials, with authorities claiming that taxes amounting to 3000 Crore INR ($542 million) have not been paid by the company to the Indian government.
Lumia 510 released in India, Lumia 505 in Mexico
Nokia has reportedly started to roll out Windows Phone 7.8 to some of its handsets. At the same time as the mobile operating system upgrade to some of the company's handsets, Nokia has also launched the Lumia 505 in Mexico, and the Lumia 510 in India, both of which will launch with Windows Phone 7.8 out of the box.
Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia get video
Following some early premieres, Apple has officially opened access to the iTunes Music Store in 56 more countries. While the company isn't providing a full list, it does highlight Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Of the new countries, only Russia, Turkey, India, and Indonesia are getting access to movie rentals and purchases as well.
Could signal modest demand for fourth-gen tablet
Wi-Fi models of the fourth-generation iPad are now listed as "in stock" at Apple's US and Canadian online stores, checks show. Before its November 2nd launch the hardware switched to a one-week delay, and more recently times were reduced to between 3 and 5 business days. The latest development suggests that Apple has caught up with demand, and that perhaps that public interest is relatively modest, due to the simultaneous introduction of the Mini and very few differences with the third-generation iPad, which was only released in March.
Apple to allegedly be sole distributor
The iPhone 5 should ship to India on the last Friday of October, the 26th, several sources tell BGR. Unusually, Apple is expected to be distributing the device on its own in the country, instead of also going through carriers and/or third-party vendors, as it does elsewhere. At the same time, BGR suggests that the iPhone 5 may have a broader availability in India than previous iPhones.
Phone's fate after 2012 may be uncertain
Indian carrier Aircel is now selling the iPhone 3GS for less than $200, according to an official announcement. The device is now selling for about Rs. 9,999, or roughly $181. Buyers must also, however, pay for a year of unlimited data at a rate of Rs. 3,000, the equivalent of just under $55. The 3GS has been available in India for a long time, but typically at much higher prices.
Phone expected as early as April
Intel has reportedly teamed with Lava to create a new series of smartphones based on Medfield-series Atom chips. The Indian handset maker is said to be preparing to introduce a new smartphone brand for the Medfield devices, rather than sticking with its own branding that is currently tied to feature phones and a single budget-priced Android handset.
Company outsourcing software, maintenance work
Apple is aiming to "quadruple" the amount of money it spends in India, claims local publication The Economic Times. In January the company's CIO, Niall O'Connor, is said to have visited the city of Bangalore, where he was met by senior officials from two technology companies, Infosys and Wipro. O'Connor is reportedly deciding which firms in India will get lucrative software and maintenance contracts worth about $100 million.