Apple sales execs depart as company flounders in India

“Apple Inc. is facing more challenges in the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone market,” Saritha Rai reports for Bloomberg. “The iPhone maker has lost a trio of pivotal executives in India in recent weeks as it struggles to boost iPhone sales there, people familiar with the matter say. Among the executives who’ve departed are its national sales and distribution chief, the head of its commercial channels and mid-market business, and the head of telecom carrier sales, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. Apple’s Indian sales team is now undergoing a restructuring, one of the people said.”

“The executive exodus is a symptom of Apple’s persistent malaise in India, where high tariffs inflate the price tags of imported gadgets such as the iPhone and consumers gravitate toward cheaper alternatives from the likes of Xiaomi Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co.,” Rai reports. “Instead, the company resorts to marketing iPhones that are a few generations old and doesn’t manufacture its latest models domestically, thereby incurring import levies.”

“Caught up in those challenges is Michel Coulomb, who took over as head of Indian operations in December 2017. While Coulomb has rich experience in carrier-led sales, his team has been slow to cultivate business relationships in the market, the people said. Apple’s also had difficulties understanding the country, leaving the sales team direction-less, they said,” Rai reports. “In India, where it has a market share of about 2 percent, Apple sold just 3.2 million iPhones in 2017, according to Counterpoint Research, In the first half of 2018, fewer than a million devices moved, it estimates.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Due to the “Make In India” initiative, “expect Apple’s assembly partners to increase assembly in India as the country is of utmost importance for Apple’s continued growth.” — MacDailyNews, Decmber 15, 2017

Made-in-India iPhone 6s production underway as Apple looks to avoid Indian import tax – June 26, 2018
Apple ups iPhone prices in India as government hikes taxes on imported phones – December 18, 2017
India raises import tax on electronic products, including cellphones; move to hurt Apple – December 15, 2017
Apple slashes prices of iPhone 7, iPhone 7 plus, iPhone 6s in India – September 14, 2017
Apple seeks tax breaks for suppliers to make iPhones in India – August 1, 2017
Indian Prime Minister Modi meets with Apple CEO Cook ahead of President Trump today – June 26, 2017
Apple broadens their iPhone attack in India, the world’s second biggest mobile market – June 22, 2017
Apple is making old iPhones new again to win India – June 12, 201
Apple again asks Indian government to allow sale of certified refurbished iPhones in India – February 6, 2017
Indian IT minister says Apple plans to make iPhones in Bengaluru – February 3, 2017
Apple nears deal to manufacture products in India – January 25, 2017
Apple is ready to make iPhones in India, for a price – January 20, 2017
India to consider Apple request for tax breaks and policy exemptions with ‘open mind’ – January 18, 2017
Apple is horse-trading mightily with India – January 4, 2017


  1. I thought Pipeline was an operational genius? The India situation is all about operations. Make it in India, satisfy the politicians, lower the cost through domestic supply sourcing and production, enjoy the benefits.

    Yet another failure, all due to Pipeline.

    1. You are quick to judge, IVT. In my opinion, it is too early to make such a judgment. Furthermore, implementing Apple policy in India is undoubtedly much, much more complex that you can comprehend.

      And this is not an “operations” issue, not in the sense of supply-chain management that is Cook’s forte. The difficulties appear to be far more associated with political and legal issues.

      I would think that everyone would admit that Apple has done well in China, which is also a challenging government and market to navigate. Give Apple time to parse out the Indian market.

      1. KingMel, I normally don’t disagree with your basic assertions, and we all know that there is more complexity in these matters than anyone here could possibly understand completely with the limited reporting available, but …. how long has Apple attempted and failed to make headway in leveraging India’s huge talent pool and consumer market? How long are you going to give Timmy to become a major player there? Why precisely is this not an operations issue? Operations include both supply chain and distribution chain.

        Objectively, you’re giving Apple a free pass for underwhelming performance.

      2. To put some context on this discussion, the median annual income in India is $613, almost exactly half the current base price of an iPhone X on the Indian market.

  2. MDN take is totally wrong, Apple should stay out of the god for saken market that is India, too much high tariff and meddling by the impotent Indian government. On top of that Indians are cheap so let Android have the Indian market, it is a match made in heaven between dodgy people and Google Android OS. Apple is greedy and this market share time waste should be ditched for better less buggy soft ware and concentrating on core developed markets like Japan

    1. You want Apple to simply ignore a country with around 1.3B people and a growing middle class? Even if the percentages of middle class and wealthy people in the Indian population are relatively small, a small percentage of 1.3B can be quite substantial. It would be short-sighted and irresponsible for Apple to fail to give India its best shot.

      1. Yes, Apple should be less greedy and stay from unfair market like India that is a huge headache. Let the rich Indians get better Apple gear made in China from places like Dubai or Singapore. That Child/slave labor country should be avoided by Apple

  3. No kickbacks no market, note the few that have money have Mac’s, iPad’s and iPhone’s in India. and when you decide to sell on your Apple device you get top dollar three years later.

  4. Maybe when it was all about China? Like oh my god, apple’s failing in china because the phone is too expensive and no one is going to buy it.

    Now iPhone’s a top seller, so now they whine about India. What’s next, Apple hasn’t sold a single phone in Antarctica?

      1. Everyone wants kickbacks all over the world. When a stable fair free market is established, the US president calls the EU an “enemy”. He whines about a zero tariff zone while unilaterally refusing to cooperate, instead raising trade barriers. Nero couldn’t have burnt down a good trade situation faster.

          1. For some unknown reason, the current administration is impressed with a “strong” nation that is bright red on the Transparency International corrupt index while calling the bastions of fair rulemaking EU, Canada, and other former allies “enemies”.


            Of course this is all squishy stuff because people don’t actually make corruption easy to track, and there is no end to the difficulty comparing isolated low level corruption to the widespread big time corporate corruption that funds many warlords and dictators around the world.

            Corruption Index results for 2017:
            1 New Zealand 89
            2 Denmark 88
            3 Finland / Norway / Switzerland (tie) 85
            6 Singapore / Sweden (tie) 84
            8 Canada / Luxembourg / Netherlands / Britain (tie) 82
            12 Germany 81
            13 Australia 77
            14 Austria / Belgium/ USA (tie) 75

            I expect that under the current administration, it’s disdain for transparency or rule of law, its penchant for having cosy closed door meetings with dictators, and its desire to conrol trade through arbitrary one-off tariffs and then special (wink wink) exemptions will result in the USA plummeting from 14th place in corruption to something closer to former Russian satellite state status on the corruption index. After all, having a functioning government is bad. Looking strong on TV and not getting called out for the hypocrisy by the propaganda arm of the Murdoch empire is all that matters.

            Question often asked by Trumpy: why don’t those poor refugees want to stay in their gang-infested “shithole” countries? If the Orange Dictator Wannabe had a brain, he would use his national intelligence teams to inform him what the level of crime and corruption are in most of the world, especially Africa and central America. Mexico scores 29 on the 2017 transparency index, btw. The same score as Russia, now a special friend (employer?) to the current US president. So sad about all the US veterans who gave their lives to fight against communism and corruption. Now the US President has nothing but praise for dictatorships. They look strong on TV.

  5. India scores a 40 on the Transparency International CPI.
    Communist China scores a 41
    Argentina 39
    Brazil 37

    You would think that America would work to reduce corruption in the world, but apparently if you have a slavic origin, and either money or very large silicone tatas, then a corruption is not a worry. A corruption index of 29 makes them a trusted friend.

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