John Sculley to launch new smartphone brand ‘Obi’ in India


Apple’s former CEO, John Sculley, is all set to launch a new brand of smartphones ‘Obi’ in India sometime in April.

According to reports in the local media Inflexionpoint, a Singapore-based investment and acquisition company with Sculley as one of its founding partners, will be funding about $20 million towards setting up a design centre, supply chain, sales and marketing network for the upcoming brand in the country.

Ajay Sharma, who was Micromax’s smartphone division head earlier and also at one time HTC’s India head, will be working as the smartphone brand’s President along with his already formed core team comprising of his former Micromax and HTC colleagues.

As per reports, the new range of smartphones has been priced between Rs 5,000 to 15,000 (about US$80 to $245). Sharma claims that the upcoming devices will come with a unique selling proposition (USP) that will help the brand to achieve a decent market share and sail smoothly in an already smartphone flooded market like India.

Inflexionpoint’s Asia chief executive Neeraj Chauhan in an emailed statement to Economic Times said “Mr. Sculley is quite excited about the project and actively provides strategic inputs. We benefit from his marketing and branding insights. He has committed to travel to India every quarter to oversee this project.”

While explaining the company’s strategy to compete with other numerous handset sellers in India, Chauhan said that the company aims to offer smartphones with quality specifications, but at the prices that are “only slightly more expensive than the local brands but significantly lower than Samsung or Apple.”

According to the latest IDC numbers, India is considered as one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. Smartphone shipments grew three times to 44 million in 2013 from 16.2 million in 2012 and analysts expect the growth trend to continue this year as well.