Apple loses bid to sell used iPhones in India
Does Apple sell used iPhones?
Until Bloomberg reported it today, I did not have any solid documentation that Cupertino was even considering selling the residual devices that result from the iPhone upgrade program:
So, you can have a brand-new 128 gig iPhone X for the rest of your life, and it will set you back less than 50 bucks a month… On approved credit of course. The apple care + covers two years of hardware repairs, software support, and coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage. That includes the phone, the battery, ear-pods, and support for IOS, iCloud, and apple made apps. You’re covered up to two incidents of accidental damage each subject to a service fee plus applicable taxes. That includes: screen damage, accidental drops, and liquid damage.
I was initially under the impression that Apple used a recycle service, until of course they decided to own that process and built a robot to disassemble old iPhones for their consumable components: Gold, batteries, sensor assemblies and the like. The robots name…by the way, is Liam:
It seems, however that Apple was engaged with the Indian Government to make the iPhone trade in iPhones available for re-purchase in India.
India is an emerging market in mobile for Apple with a lot of room for growth. Apple currently has 2% of the smart phone market in India. In contrast, Android commands the Indian market share, (as they do globally), due to initial investment cost of mobile devices. 9to5 Mac says 80% of the handsets sold in India are at a price point below 150 USD.
Since Apple can’t sell iPhones at $150 and risk compromising the empire, it would seem the perfect fit to re-introduce an older used, formerly-american-owned iPhone to an Indian who does not have the personal purchasing power to afford the Cupertino engineered goodness. Let us put this into perspective by contrasting the economic differences between India, China and the United States:
You can do the statistical analysis on your own so I won’t appropriate too much Wikipedia information and duplicate it here, but the top 5 producing nations in Gross Domestic Product are the EU, China, the US and India. You would think that from that data alone one could extrapolate that the top producers would also have more access to higher quality imports. But this isn’t the case for India.
With 1.3 billion people, India still lags behind the United States in GDP even though the United States only has about 350 million people. India is ranked 4th in GDP worldwide, but the per capita income rank is 120th. The average Indian makes $1,498 a year. Since no one in their right mind is going to blow half of their annual income on an iPhone, Apple was on point here: Roll out a service that keeps a current iPhone owner in the latest shell every year, bundle in the applecare+ warranty for margin and then re-sell the used iPhones in a market where you have very little war-footing because your current price-point isn’t copacetic to the region.
But alas, it was not to be. Bloomberg reports that someone from the Ministry of Telecom in India…asking not to be identified…stated:
The U.S. company’s application has been turned down citing official policy.
What ever the hell that means, the effect is Apple will not be selling used iPhones in India because the government said, “Nein!” Apple can continue to sell the expensive brand-spankin’ new iPhones that no one can afford, but used iPhones that might be more in-line with Indian purchasing power?
Not so much.
I will point out that lobby seems to be factor. Obviously, business lobby is in effect in India just like it is here in the US. I’m not sure if lobby is a protected right for citizens and if corporations have rights as their individual owners do, but Samsung was part of the lobby that convinced the Indian Gub’mint to turn down the application presented by Apple.
C’est la guerre. Business is based on competition and this is how businesses compete.
It is my experience that the best way to proliferate technology to a certain demographic…is to restrict it. Why in the hell is the Indian government not allowing their citizens to take advantage of lower cost technology? The Indian tech culture is deeply embedded in Android. I get that. But there is a reason for that. Not because it’s better, faster or more secure. It’s because Android is free.
The singular issue can’t be that the Indian Government just doesn’t like Apple. iOS based devices are sold in India and plans for Apple Stores…flagship stores…are in the works.
So why wouldn’t the Indian Government want to open up the competitive gates and allow used tier 1 devices to compete in a market that is douched with unsupported mobile garbage from Samsung?