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One of the eye-catching news stories this week that not only got coverage on Page 3 and in the corridors of celebrity news but also nationwide, especially in business columns was technology giant Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook’s visit to India. While Mr. Cook engaged himself with discovering Indian culture, starting his day with a visit to a prominent temple in Mumbai and soaking in the electric atmosphere in the Green Park Stadium, Kanpur during a cricket match, his visit was also significant due to indications of Apple’s greater involvement and engagement with the Indian industry.

The Indian economy is already emerging as a bright spot in the global economy, where most countries are experiencing stagnation or even negative growth rates but India has been touted to be better placed in the times to come. As for Apple, India has proved to be a key market. In fact, recently, Apple reported the first quarterly drop in iPhone sales globally barring in India, where its revenues grew by 56 per cent. Recognizing its profit potential in India as well as the immense talent available in India, helped by the Make in India and Digital India programmes of the government, Apple announced establishing a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru by 2017. This centre would facilitate improving the design, quality and content of apps developed for the iOS user base for Apple. It will be a major opportunity for app developers as well as for Apple to cash in on the talent and manpower available.

This is definitely good news for the Indian engineering sector. Further, this will give impetus to the entrepreneurial streak among Indians and they will get more opportunities to showcase their app developing prowess. As regards Apple, the benefits will be no less. It is no secret that it is facing stiff competition from rival phone companies, to many of which it has lost lawsuits where it had claimed patent infringement by these companies. Most of these rival companies offer phones at cheaper costs with a similar look and feel, and operating systems which work as efficiently. In the face of such aggressive marketing strategies, what the company’s phones needs is a revamp or a makeover of sorts. iPhones are known to be updated every year, in fact, the frequency keeps increasing with each passing year. For instance, the new iPhone SE (Special Edition) versions were launched at relatively more affordable (read ‘less expensive’) prices as opposed to the current crop of iPhones in the market. But the flailing sales of iPhones reflect that these steps are not enough.

In such a scenario, Apple’s engagement with India would be mutually beneficial. Apple will get newer, more innovative apps on its operating system, attracting more users while India’s ‘Make in India’ programme and the young workforce will get a boost.

As is evident, Tim Cook’s India visit was more than just about meeting and greeting the who’s who of India. The days to come will show how effective this ‘India calling’ truly is…

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