Apple India has appointed Michel Coulomb as the new head of operations after Sanjay Kaul put in his papers rather abruptly. Rumor has it that Kaul, who was previously heading the sales operation in India did so over the “not so happening” response aka sales of Apple’s latest flagship in the country.
Coulomb has been with Apple for over 15 years. He has shifted roles ranging from Managing Director, South Asia to handling sales for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
Tim Cook has pegged India as the next big smartphone market, similar to what China was, a few years back. And over the last couple of years, Apple has been aggressive with their expansion in India.
Kaul’s resignation comes hot on the heels of Apple announcing a price hike of up to Rs. 3,720 for almost every iPhone model sold in India. Kinda explains the dip in sales, don’t you think? But before you set out to blame Apple, our beloved government had a significant part to play in the price hike. In hopes of giving a leg-up to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government increased the import duty on smartphones, hence, costlier iPhones.
Even though the pace of growth seems slow for Apple, in the financial year 2017, Apple India posted revenue of Rs 11,619 crore, which amounts to 17% growth in profits, Apple is struggling to increase its sales, including the iPhone X.
“Apple has been under pressure since iPhone X launch as supply issues hampered its sales in India. Although we can’t link Kaul’s resignation with this yet but yes, the company have had sluggish sales,” Jaipal Singh, Senior Analyst, IDC India, told IANS.
In a smartphone market flooded with Android devices, Apple has managed to secure 3% share. But the Indian smartphone market is still dominated by companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, One Plus, etc. who are offering devices similar to Apple without burning a hole in our pocket.
Coulomb now has the task of keeping up Tim Cook’s promise of India being the next big market for Apple. And since actions speak louder than words, the veteran at Apple has to now tap into the customer base who buy mid-level smartphones and somehow convince them to upgrade to Apple’s ecosystem.