Apple pulls plug on India support center

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple Computer is backing out of plans to establish a large R & D and support facility in India, according to reports.



The Bangalore-based facility, which was revealed by the India press in March, was rumored to employ as many as 1,500 people by the end of this year and grow to over 3,000 employees by the end of 2007.



Apple inducted the facility in April and began operations with a staff of 30 people under the name Apple Services India Pvt Ltd, according to the India Times. The Apple subsidiary was slated to expand rapidly into a massive tech support and software development facility.



But according to the report, on May 29 Apple announced plans to lay off all current employees as it was "reevaluating its operations and has thought of pulling back its Indian operations".



Apple reportedly offered the employees a severance package of two months salary and plans to settle all claims on June 9.



"We have re-evaluated our plans and have decided to put our planned support centre growth in other countries," said Apple spokesmen Steve Dowling.



The decision to nix the Indian support center could have ties to a couple of recent real estate acquisitions by Apple in United States.



In February, the Mac maker purchased a 107,000-square-foot Tier IV data center in Newark, Calif. for an estimated $45 million to $50 million. Originally built for MCI WorldCom, the elaborate facility is infused with the highest levels of redundancy and security. A reason for the acquisition has never been reported.



More recently, the company announced plans build a new, 50-acre campus about a mile from its present headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. It's expected to take three to four years to design and build the complex that will accommodate 3,000 to 3,500 employees.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Thank god. English speakers rock.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    I agree, nothing sucks more then trying to explain a problem through a language barrier and a 3 second delay while your voice has to travel across the planet. Apple was just going super cheap, sort of like having everything made in China or Intel graphics. Come on Apple wake up and stop being cheapo.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    I can't really recall the last time I called tech support to solve my problems, short of hardware actively smoking.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Ahhh Americans........



    What about the people in Asia who need tech support? I guess that never crossed your mind for a second......
  • Reply 5 of 29
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,298member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Adrianzehn

    Ahhh Americans........



    What about the people in Asia who need tech support? I guess that never crossed your mind for a second......




    Come on, lose the knee-jerk assumption of xenophobia. Actually it did cross my mind. That would be the only good reason to have a call center in India--to have Indians giving great support to Indians. But other people in Asia (China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea) would be just as ill-served by such a scheme as Americans. Maybe even worse since people on both ends of the conversation would be non-native speakers.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    elixirelixir Posts: 782member
    yes, thank god indeed.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    It's easy to take cheap shots at Indian call centers, but the fact of the matter is that almost everybody in India with a halfway decent education speaks excellent English. With so many regional languages and dialects, English is the only way people from one part of the country can communicate with folks from another. English also has the advantage of being a "neutral" language--everyone is very proud of their own language and people who speak Tamil or Bengali resent the fact that Hindi (spoken by just 30% of the population) is the official national language.



    Long story short, the quality of the English you get at call centers in India is dependent entirely on how much money a company is willing to spend. Cheapskate companies hire poorly educated workers whose English is mediocre, while companies that are willing to pry open their wallets hire folks who speak excellent English. I've had to deal with Indian call center employees of Apple and Microsoft and have never had a single problem with them. Dealing with Citibank's Indian operators, on the other hand, has invariably been a huge pain. My worst-ever expereince was with a market research caller from TNT/TBS with a survey about the networks' image. It's totally a YMMV thing, and it's unfair to tar everyone with the same brush when companies like Apple and MS get it right over ther.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    bauchbauch Posts: 20member
    Thank god. That's one thing I love about Apple - I don't have to worry about getting someone that I can't understand.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    voxappsvoxapps Posts: 236member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by andrewjnyc

    It's easy to take cheap shots at Indian call centers, but the fact of the matter is that almost everybody in India with a halfway decent education speaks excellent English.



    You're right. The company I work for has a dedicated office (not "outsourced") for customer sales and support in Bangalore. I talk to some of the reps there almost every day and am often pleasantly surprised at their excellent English, including American colloquialisms. Many of them attended private schools with a strong emphasis on English skills. Of course, a company has to be willing to pay to get workers with the right language abilities: we've been providing salary increases well in excess of 25% per year to hold onto the best employees.



    Even a native speaker won't be able to assist if they haven't been trained properly. Comments (not in this thread) that "the person I talked to was just reading a script," reflect the training and tools the reps have received. Even in the US, the odds are that most Apple first-level reps aren't going to be experienced Mac users prior to receiving training.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    lantznlantzn Posts: 240member
    Maybe it has nothing to do with a language barrier at all and everything to do with bringing work to Americans. With so many companies jumping on the overseas bandwagon this WOULD look very good to us in the Apple homeland. Let's hope Apple just wants to give us Americans a chance to earn a wage and still have a job.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    markivmarkiv Posts: 180member
    It's a good decision on the part of Apple actually it's morally right as Apple charges in US Dollars so the investment should also be in the same currency. Bangalore is far too congested a city, there is an acute shortage of water and electricity not to mention the terrible pollution. I am glad Apple did not follow other software companies suite. What matters most is the quality of service which I think would have been an issue had the center been opened at Bangalore. Microsoft has most number of Indians as programmers, figures right. Also Apple is not really popular here in India, Apple's market share in India might be even less than 1%. I am from India and don't care if Apple opens an R&D center here in India or on the moon; all I want from Apple is good quality hardware/software.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,498member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by lantzn

    Maybe it has nothing to do with a language barrier at all and everything to do with bringing work to Americans. With so many companies jumping on the overseas bandwagon this WOULD look very good to us in the Apple homeland. Let's hope Apple just wants to give us Americans a chance to earn a wage and still have a job.





    "Not BLOODY likely" (with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld)!



    Apple will make a business decision, that's all.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    mimacmimac Posts: 871member
    While Apple will make a "business decision" that suits them I believe this is still welcome news. A lot of American (and European?) jobs will be protected as such and may go a little way in helping to stem the flow of talent from home.



    Good PR for Apple indeed
  • Reply 14 of 29
    shigzeoshigzeo Posts: 78member
    somehow i don't get what concern is with placing emphasis upon english fluency. most of my friends from india speak english much better than my average friends from the states, but oh bother. it could be that we other speakers of english who are not american haven't the fluency levels in slang, colloquialisms and the word "huh". im a bit more grateful when i get second language english speakers on the telephone than those from like... california who speak with a drum in their throats. haha, really no trouble either way but to suddenly lay off a vast amount of people who were probably quite happy with their jobs always seems a bit too "corporate" and that is a great asset of apple, "corporateness".
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally posted by andrewjnyc

    English also has the advantage of being a "neutral" language--everyone is very proud of their own language and people who speak Tamil or Bengali resent the fact that Hindi (spoken by just 30% of the population) is the official national language.



    English isn't exactly being regarded as neutral, it is after all, what the former colonisers spoke.



    And Hindi is the mother tongue of an estimated 30% of the population, but spoken by something like 70%.



    Many people in India speak 4 languages out of necessity, their predominant local language, a major regional language such as Tamil and Hindi and English to communicate across the country.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    insliderinslider Posts: 86member
    Indian tech support is equal to or better than US based centers. HOWEVER, customer serviced based centers are a different story.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    photoeditorphotoeditor Posts: 238member
    A lot of corporations knee-jerkedly assume that outsourcing and offshoring saves money, and go into it without properly running the numbers. Very often, the logistics of maintaining communications, quality control, shipments, procurement of raw materials and so on across 12 time zones ends up resulting in costs that outweigh the savings in labor costs -- and that's even before the fallout from PR and customer satisfaction problems.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    bwhalerbwhaler Posts: 260member
    This is great news. Absolutely fantastic news.



    I don't like the accent/language barrier. And yes, there is a language barrier since English is not English is not English. Vernacular differs country to country.



    Plus, there are cultural frames you have to explain through.



    Finally, as America is Apple's biggest market by a long shot, it is simply fair and ethical for them to employ US workers and not try to squeeze every penny of short term profit they can.



    Great move Apple.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    bwhalerbwhaler Posts: 260member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Adrianzehn

    Ahhh Americans........



    What about the people in Asia who need tech support? I guess that never crossed your mind for a second......




    Oh spare me. This is so idiotic it hurts.



    The language and accent and cultural issues are even a larger factor for India serving Asia.



    There is a reason why India call centers ONLY serve North America, Australia, and English speaking European countries.



    There is a reason why they do not support any other country where English is not the native tongue.



    You really think the call centers are hiring these folks at $1,500 per year and then teaching them Mandarin? Japanese? Korean? Yeah, especially in an industry where turnover is over 150% annualized.



    I appreciate your attempt to bash Americans as being xenophobic, but you have your head up your ass. Indian call centers don't support Asia today or in the future...Nor eastern Europe. Nor Africa. Nor South America.



    But thanks for playing. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jobberwacky

    English isn't exactly being regarded as neutral, it is after all, what the former colonisers spoke.



    And Hindi is the mother tongue of an estimated 30% of the population, but spoken by something like 70%.



    Many people in India speak 4 languages out of necessity, their predominant local language, a major regional language such as Tamil and Hindi and English to communicate across the country.




    Fair enough. I made my statements on the basis of the time I spent living in India as a child/adolescent...in Pondicherry, where the colonial language was French, and where there was actually a certain amount of pride in the colonial history. From that perspective, it's a lot easier to see English as "neutral".
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