Apple boss Cook to tap Indian software talent during maiden visit

Wed May 18, 2016 2:12am EDT
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By Himank Sharma and Rupam Jain

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Apple Inc will set up a software laboratory in India to help Indian startups and developers working on the company's iOS platform, Apple said hours after Chief Executive Tim Cook began his first official visit to the country.

Cook arrived late on Tuesday, and will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other officials, later in the week. Apple is expected to announce several more initiatives during his trip.

The company is also expected to unveil plans to expand its software development center in the southern city of Hyderabad, also home to Microsoft's first India office, where engineers are working on Apple Maps.

The app design and development accelerator - the term used for hothouse laboratories in the tech sector - will open in Bengaluru, as Bangalore is now known, in early 2017.

Apple said in a statement the accelerator would help Indian developers and startups design their apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

Cook's visit coincides with India's emergence as one of the last large growth markets for smartphones, with sales in the United States and China beginning to taper off.

Over 100 million smartphones were sold in India last year, a number that is expected to grow by 25 percent this year.

Although India is in the world's third-largest smartphone market, Apple's iPhone only has a two percent market share, but sales grew 56 percent in the first three months of 2016.   Continued...

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple TV during an event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California March 21, 2016.  REUTERS/Stephan Lam