Tim Cook is on an eventful first visit to India as Apple CEO. And while he devoted much of his time to startups yesterday, it is business deals which he is looking to close with India’s biggest industrialists today.
As a result, Cook recently met top Reliance executives for a long-term partnership. Under the proposed partnership, a couple million iPhones will be sold that could work on Reliance Jio 4G network whose country-wide launch is due in second half of this year. Also, Apple will provide enterprise solutions, which it has developed with IBM, for Reliance Retail .
The meeting took place at Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilla in South Mumbai yesterday and went on for over 2 hours. Mukesh Ambani was not present personally and he was represented by his son Akash Ambani, close friend Manoj Modi, MD of Reliance Jio Sanjay Mashruwala, and core team member of Jio and Reliance Retail Pankaj Pawar.
Reliance executives gave a detailed presentation on Reliance Jio and its capabilities to revolutionise high-speed mobile broadband across the country. They also proposed how a partnership with Apple to offer iPhones with Jio can prove to be an attractive deal for customers.
Reportedly, Reliance wants to make a direct sourcing relationship with Apple which will allow it to sell bundled iPhones through its own wide network of 1.2 lakh retailers and e-commerce firms.
The company has also expressed an interest in deploying enterprise retail solutions developed by Apple and IBM in Reliance Retail stores. These solutions aid retail chains and shop owners to manage their products and plan inventory as well as boost shop-floor service by giving customised solutions to individual customers.
Reliance plans to use these solutions by giving Apple devices to its employees of Reliance Retail to improve customer experience.
Tim Cook has given an in-principle nod to a strategic partnership. He also pitched the idea of Apple Pay in Reliance stores for mobile digital payments and Reliance executives have reportedly agreed to evaluate the idea in its stores.
Cook’s Ambani meet follows from his announcement yesterday, of opening an iOS app design and development accelerator in Bengaluru in 2017. It will help Indian developers hone their skills giving them access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.
It is noteworthy that India — despite a fractional revenue share in Apple’s overall revenues, was a lone bright spot in a rather dismal earnings call for last quarter. While global sales of iPhones and iPads saw a dip for the first time in 13 years, Apple grew in India by 56% year over year. However, significantly lower number of sales as compared with US and China must be accounted in the same.
Cook had already admitted having big plans for India especially due to the upcoming 4G expansion in the country which would allow an ideal experience of iPhones for users.