218 billion dollars you say… Poof! It’s gone.


The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Mohit Kharkwal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
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Most valuable tech company of the world, Apple, was again making headlines this week. But the poster child of silicon valley had only bad news to offer. Owing to the sluggish demand of iPhone lineup, investors are getting nervous and situation is only worsening due to underwhelming performance of Apple watch and the iPad lineup.
The only star performer of Apple lineup this financial quarter has been its MacBook line. According to Gartner, Apple is the sole manufacturer that saw positive shipment growth amid worldwide decline in PC segment. Apple also broke into Gartner’s list of top five worldwide PC manufacturers for the first time.
However big bulk of Apple’s revenue comes from iOS devices and investors are not happy with the growth they are observing. Its performance in emerging markets like India and China is tapering off and it is facing tough competition from the industry in America and Europe. These are major factors leading to fall in Apple’s share prices by $2.47 to $97.05 (Friday figures). Share price of $97.05 is 28% decline from the market high of last year (May 21,2015). Adjusting for the stock buybacks, this fall has wiped out 218 billion dollars in market value. This is more than 480 stocks in the S&P 500 combined.
However such wide dips in Apple’s share prices are not uncommon. In 2013, price fell over 40% over the period of six months taking with it almost 300 billion dollars. Many analyst attribute these fluctuations to Apple being overvalued. So now it remains to be seen how soon the investors will settle at the right price and what it will be.
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Email Blast from Apple : To kill free iTunes

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sidhartha Sankar Nanda, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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“As a listener of ad-supported radio on Apple Music, we want you to know it’s being discontinued starting January 28th” . This was the mail sent from American multinational technology company Apple to the iTunes radio user.

Apple has decided to start charging for iTunes Radio from January 28. From the above mentioned date, if the apple users want to hear radio stations based on an artist or genre of music they like, they will have to fork out a monthly subscription of ten dollars to Apple Music, The Verge reports. The ad-supported service, available only in the United States and Australia, will be folded into Apple Music, which costs $9.99 a month. However, Beats 1 will remain free to listen to, even without an Apple Music subscription, according to the email sent by Apple. Also it seems that this decision won’t impact iTunes’ separate “Internet Radio” feature, that lets you listen to non-Apple Internet radio streams, this has been around since the early days of iTunes.

iTunes radio was launched along with iOS 7 in the year 2013 as an answer to Internet radio behemoth Pandora.

iTunes Radio’s move to a subscription-only model follows word that Apple has broken up the sales team for its iAd advertising network. 9to5Mac speculates that the decision to end ad-supported iTunes Radio is related to the iAd shutdown, saying that “Apple can simplify the responsibilities of the floundering iAd group by getting rid of the need for ads to service the legacy stations.” .This move is also backed up with Apple’s plan to pull out the mobile advertising business in June. Apple’s decision intends to lure customers into paying for its streaming service as the company engages in a heated war with Spotify and to compete with Pandora Media.

Some of the alternate options that might be of helpful now are :

  1. Pandora provides a free, ad-supported service tier to go along with its $5-per-month Pandora One subscription service. However it lacks the same level of integration that iTunes Radio offered, but the company does offer a free iOS app to listeners.
  2. Spotify, known primarily for its a la carte streaming, is a combination of both Pandora and iTunes Radio. It offers both a Mac and iOS app but it too has a $10-per-month “Premium” service, which  lets you listen to your Spotify music collection when you’re offline.

Free Basics

 

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Versha Mishra, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Free Basics has, once again, become the talk of the town. Is it really going to help people? To answer this question, one needs to understand the basics. Free Basics initiative by facebook aims at providing free internet access to the significantly unconnected parts of the world. Even though the initiative is novel, it has some inherent problems attached with it. For example, if a chocolate manufacturing company decides to supply free food to under served people, then it is a highly commendable initiative. But if the same company says that the free food would be the chocolates, it is not correct as the company does not get to choose the free food for the community. Similarly, Free Basics initiative has also got the same problem of offering the selected and tailored free content to people.

Free Basics is just the old wine in a new bottle. Facebook, which failed to push the internet.org, is trying to disguise the same concepts under the free basics tag. Internet.org is against net neutrality. The online service providers who associate themselves with the Internet.org get the benefit of their services being offered to the people for free. So, this leads to a possibility of renowned firms lobbying the Internet.org eventually curbing the competition. Moreover, it is the basic right of every internet user to access all the content online for free. To add to it, Free Basics does not offer the free video streaming as a part of the free internet package. This proves to be even more irrelevant in a world where a major chunk of people get to learn things through the videos.

Facebook started to lure people to write to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) through the notifications in their profile pages. This leads to a serious situation of TRAI accepting the free basics which in turn is harmful to the net neutrality. This initiative is against the freedom to knowledge and the freedom to express.

As a responsible citizen of the country, it is important to understand the loopholes in the Free Basics and act against it to uphold the net neutrality.

Buying a car….is one click away!!!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Tamas Oberoi, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Mahindra and Mahindra has recently tied up with Flipkart to sell its small SUV ‘KUV 100’ through its platform. I believe it’s a great move considering the craze for E-shopping in Indian youth in recent times. India has now an internet base of about 243 million which is more and more galloping with increasing number of smart phone users.KUV-100 is a car for mass market and what better platform than Flipkart  which has a pan India reach and a market share of about 44 percent.

It’s a win-win situation for both Mahindra and Flipkart. For Mahindra they will have access to a huge customer base through Flipkart and also it will play an active role in promoting KUV-100 through advertisement on its site. For Flipkart, they were already selling automobile accessories and by including KUV-100, they are expanding their product category and building a complete ecosystem to become a one stop destination for all automobile needs.

Flipkart is now pressing the peddle hard to sustain as the Number 1 E-commerce website in India by expanding its product categories aggressively. Now it’s on Snapdeal and Amazon to roll up their sleeves and step up to the challenge. It ‘s an exciting times for E-commerce companies and the next 2-3 year will decides who will rise as the jack of all trades and rule the E-commerce market in India.

THE FUTURE OF RETAIL IN INDIA

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sai Prasanth C, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The organized retail, with its advent in India, has brought about tremendous changes in the consumer market. The organized retail provided its customers anonymity, leading to the freedom of choice, and superiority. In the decade following 2000, the Indian economy has witnessed the growing consumer income. This, eventually, lead to more aspirations and awareness of the choices in the market. This, profoundly, influenced the purchasing behavior of the families and lead them to the new formats of shopping. The organized retail empowered the consumers, women in particular, by providing the freedom of shopping. It has also empowered its employees through stringent training programs to hone their interpersonal skills. The organized retail, in India, has witnessed a plethora of innovations which duly changed the course of its progress. The Mix n Match aisle idea by the Shoppers stop in the apparels format addressed the customization needs of the customers and has
seen tremendous success. The Marketing strategies got dynamic owing to the impulse buying behavior of the consumers. But with the advent of the technology and penetration of internet in India, online retail has posed a serious threat to the future of the traditional “bricks & mortar” stores.

With this impending threat, the retail specialists contemplate the possible factors that will drive the future traditional retail. A few of the possible future drivers, as the specialists claim, are the experiential retailing, the customization, the dynamic product line and the digitization. The retailers need to understand the importance of the digitization and adapt the omni channel strategy. Integrating the channels by using the in store pick up of web
orders is bound to provide the ease of shopping to the customers. The experiential shopping is a definite customer-puller. The magic window of the shoppers stop and the OVS2.0,a fashion store in Milan, helps the customers to try on different apparels virtually and the idea has been embraced by the customer fraternity. The in-store locator and the interactive window help the retailers to send contextual text messages to the customers, enhancing
their shopping experience. These two innovative techniques will also help the retailers to collect and analyze the data regarding the shopping patterns of the customers and help design the store better. The online inventory system helps the retailers to update the prices of the products dynamically. The shoppers can also find the best prices and the availability of products.

Given the dynamic market, the key to conquer the market is the disruptive technologies. According to the “State of the Internet of Things” study by Accenture Interactive, nearly two thirds of the consumers will be owning connected homes and wearable technologies by 2018. The IOT improves the customer experience by providing the simplified and central solution to the customer problems. With the internet enabled smart tags adjusting the
prices of promotional items real time and synchronizing the prices of products across all the channels, there will be a definite improvement in store operations and reduction in costs of operation. The other possible disruption in the traditional retail is the products delivered to the customers, which is called the channel personalization. Audi & DHL have teamed up to deliver the customer purchase to the car trunks using the one time generated authentication code. The ease of retrieval of the purchase is a strong point to draw the customers to the store. In the market today, the customization of the products is the key to retain the customers. The high end customization could be achieved by the 3-D printing technology. The customization of the products can range from the high volume personalization to the individual personalization. This could also possibly drive the future and create the avenues for the traditional organized retail.

Eventually, all the tactics could bring the customers to the store but the in store experience determines the customer loyalty. Courteous staff equipped with up to date information of the product line, store ambiance, extensive loyalty programs and warranties & guarantees form the strategy to enrich the customer experience. Embracing and extending into the online space, the traditional retail stores adapting these strategies and disruptive technologies can continue to own the major sales share in the total retail sales.

Kerala-100% primary education

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Thomas John, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


Kerala has become the first Indian state to achieve 100 percent primary education. This achievement is as a result of many programs being launched by the Kerala government especially the Athulyam scheme which was launched in 2010.

The primary education equivalency drive of the state literacy mission-Athulyam was carried out in two phases. In first phase, an extensive survey was carried out in 140 panchayats to identify people who has not completed their primary education. In the second phase more extensive survey was carried out and around 205913 people were identified between the age group 15 and 50 years. These people were convinced to study again and were given classes. More than 80% of them were women.

The exam titled “Athulyam Aksharolsavam” was conducted on June 7th 2015 at 6623 centers across the state. Around 150 prison mates registered for this and appeared for the exam. Those who scored 30 out of 75 in English and 20 out of 50 in other subjects were declared pass.

And the sky is full of colours, and the air is full of Joy and Happiness!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Dhruv Shah, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.

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Uttarayan is the festival celebrated in Gujarat which marks the change in the direction of Sun. It is also known as Makar-Sankranti in other parts of India.

It is celebrated on the 14th of January every year by flying kites and eating Undhyu (a local delicacy made on this day) and Jalebi. The energy and the atmosphere with which this festival is celebrated in itself mesmerizing. It symbolizes freedom and joy. The best part is there are no rituals and prayers or any other involvement of any religion making it a festival that unites all.

A typical day of Uttarayan is marked with loud music on the terraces of all apartments accompanied with kite flying and well its Gujarat, you cannot leave food behind! The festival starts a night earlier when people meet and spend the entire on the preparation of kites. From the morning itself the entire sky is filled with kites of various colours and the people who compete to cut the thread of each other and the celebration is marked with loud screaming of “kai-po-che”. People gather in huge numbers and the day never seems to end. The celebration goes on till late night when people even fly tukkals (a form of lantern).

Uttarayan is a huge festival from the point of view of business. The business of kites, threads and other accessories for kite flying. Be it a cap or sun-glasses. The sales go up like crazy. There are huge market places opened where thousands of vendors gather and sell the kites.

With the mind boggling mechanics of the kite flies to the simplest joys of cutting the kite, the festival spreads smiles.

Smart Cities in India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Abhijeet Mohanty, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Imagine a man tending to his crops sitting miles away from his field in his office, simultaneously checking on his new born baby with an infant monitor (miles away from his home) and booking tickets for a train while not having to wait in a queue for a change.

Now imagine the man being an Indian. The dream seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? But this Internet of Things scenario could be a reality if everything falls into place. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious vision of building 100 smart cities across India would surely not end up as just a pipe-dream. Around ₹1000 crores for each potential smart city have been earmarked. 12 crore people will benefit from this project ~ 35% of the urban population according to 2011 census. So what would be the benefits??

  • Adequate water, electricity supply, solid waste management, health & education
  • Efficient urban mobility and public transport
  • Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
  • Sustainable environment by smart energy management

These are the basic demands in a smart city. A smart city would require the convergence of IT, Telecom, Building Automation and Energy/Infrastructure players. Such a project needs specialized expertise of the private companies around the world.

In a country like India, where red tapism is a major hindrance to development, the degree of collaboration with the private sector could be an issue. The Centre, the state, the urban local bodies etc. everyone HAS TO BE in sync with each other. The city-level administration needs to be strengthened further so as to bring accountability. There seems to be lot of promise in what the Govt is heading towards, well atleast such a picture is being painted. But implementation of such mega plans has never been a strong suit of our governments. Some of the problems that could occur –

  1. Increased migration to these cities from rural-India
  2. Death of agricultural sector (India is an agro-based economy!)
  3. With  a lot of ₹₹₹ at stake, there is more probability of that heading to Swiss bank accounts than in the project.
  4. Internet penetration is still at a lower level compared to the population
  5. The biggest challenge will definitely be incorporating the citizens into these plans – there is a need for SMART citizens for this to be successful

If plans are executed in a proper, phased-out manner, smart cities will be very beneficial for Govt and its people. Especially in a developing economy and a suitable FDI climate, there is a lot of scope. Up to the Govt now to decide if that man mentioned at the beginning really could be an Indian.

 

References

Maggi: A call for new troubles?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ruchi Patel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.


 

Maggi has been in news since May 2015 when it was declared unsafe in India due to high quantities of lead and MSG. On Wednesday, 13 Jan 2015, Supreme Court asked clarification from the government laboratory in Mysore whether the levels of lead and glutamic acid in Maggi noodles are within permissible limits as prescribed by the law.

Despite the claims by Nestle India about the level of lead content being within the permissible limit prescribed under Food Safety Act, Centre asks for a comprehensive finding of all other parameters. The Court has asked Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore to determine the levels of lead content and glutamic acid within 8 weeks, and find if they were within permissible limit (by April 5).

After being tested in multiple laboratories last year, Maggi was banned on June 5th, 2015. It was withdrawn from shelves everywhere in the market. Nestle had challenged the ban and after being declared safe by FDA lab in Goa and Food Referral Laboratory in Mysore it was back in market in November 2015.

People welcomed Maggi back with open arms and it became a part of their normal lives just as it used to be. All the troubles Maggi had in the last year were forgotten. Now, when SC asks for tests of new samples, is it a call for new trouble?

Reference: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/maggi-ban-sc-seeks-clarification-from-mysore-lab/article8101472.ece

Growing intolerance in India

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Monica Patra, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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India with its vibrant and diverse culture is acting increasingly anti-freedom these days. So many people get offended by slightest of provocations lately that speaking in public forum has become like walking on egg shells. Bans generally don’t resolve conflicts, it dissuades debate which leads to closing of minds. The trigger happy idea of censorship should be a part of dictatorships not of democracies. The thought of ideas being seen as threatening in a democracy is equally idiosyncratic as it is scary. Indian government thinks it is best to ban an idea in the fear of imagined slight than to debate them. Instead of celebrating ideas and choices and their various myriad interpretation, government chooses to exile them and steal from us the most basic right, the right to choose. The most brazen attack on free idea due to paranoia of insult was the pulping of the book “The Hindus: An Alternative History” by the US-based academic Wendy Doniger by Penguin India. How intolerant does a culture have to become to not allow any different interpretation than the one we have come to accept? They want us to be Pavlov’s dogs who can be conditioned to think what they want us to think, not the free thinkers that we can be. Now time will only tell that after Maggi, porn sites and beef which idea will be banned and who will bear the brunt of the ban happy government.