India's slow networks and informal retail structure is preventing tech giant Apple from realising its full potential, CEO Tim Cook said on Wednesday, as the world's most valuable company recorded is first drop in quarterly sales since 2003. Cook acknowledged that India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world, but said that it is dominated by "low-end" devices primarily because of slow internet connections.
Addressing analysts after the company posted its quarterly figures, Cook said that while India presents a "really great opportunity" for the company, the country is "where China was maybe seven to ten years ago" and "I think there's a really great opportunity there". Cook said that faster networks will "unleash the power and capability" of the iPhone and that "infrastructure is key".
Apple's revenue for the current quarter was pegged at $50.56 billion (approximately Rs 3,357 crore), as against $58 billion (approximately Rs 3,856 crore) the same time last year, a drop of 13%. While some are hailing this as a “historic loss” for the company, Cook did not seem overly concerned.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cook said that it had been a “challenging quarter”, but that this does not mean the company was slipping. The company had predicted the fall in revenue in January, when it announced that iPhone sales were flatlining. Even so, Apple’s March-end profits are more than those of Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon combined, the WSJ report added.
The fall in revenue is largely because of a poor performance by the iPhone, the company’s most popular product. While they sold 61.2 million iPhones in the same quarter last year, they sold 51.2 million of them the same time this year. Sales of the smartphone fell by as much as 26% in China, and the stronger dollar did not help matters, experts said. Moreover, some believe that while the new iPhones launched in 2014, with their bigger screens, had created a lot of excitement, this was not the case for Apple's 2015 offerings.