March 9, 2006 11:18 AM PST

Apple plans India call center

Apple Computer said Thursday that it plans to open a call center in India to handle its growing business and continue to expand call centers in the U.S. as well.

The company is in the process of building a Bangalore facility to house the call center.

"Apple has gained millions of new customers in the past year, and we are building a call center in India to help meet our growing service and support needs," an Apple representative said in a statement to CNET News.com.

The company stressed that it isn't cutting any U.S. jobs, noting that its ranks are growing both in the United States and overall. "Our call centers in Austin and Sacramento also continue to grow," the Apple representative said.

The iPod and Mac maker also promised that the quality of its support will not diminish with the new effort.

"This call center will be managed and staffed by Apple employees with the same award-winning service for which Apple is known around the world," Apple said.

The news was reported earlier Thursday by the Times of India, which said that Apple would begin with 1,500 people and have 3,000 workers by the end of next year. Apple would not comment on how many workers would be at the new facility.

Apple is following the lead of many other PC and electronics firms that have set up call centers in India.

In March 2005, Dell cut the ribbon on its third Indian call center. However the company has also been hit with criticism over the quality of its customer support.

In 2003, Dell decided to reroute some corporate support calls back to U.S.-based call centers, but the company has continued to expand in India.

Apple's business has been growing significantly. In the fiscal year that ended in September, Apple posted revenue of $13.93 billion, up 68 percent from the prior year.

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54 comments

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This sucks
I will be really upset if Apple makes the same mistake that Dell and
other numerous computer manufacturers did. I think Apple should
keep their support local to the people who buy their products.
Posted by neolyn (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
cOOL
this doesnt matter, their support cannot get any worst anyways...
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
>:-(
Considering Apple's profit margins this is BS plain and simple.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
when will these companies learn
Apple had a 10% chance that I would buy one of there products. If they do this they will have none. They are allot of people here that is more that able to do the support work and they would better comuicate with customers needs. WE the customers get the bad end of the stick because we will not get the type of support we are paying for.
Posted by damiandennison (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bashers aren't customers
The new Mactels and some PPC Macs are backordered. Thousands of people are on waiting lists. How can anyone think that Apple will suffer because he is not going to act on his "ten percent" chance of buying an Apple product?

Since you aren't a customer, you haven't paid Apple for anything, including support.

BTW, do you realize that your grammar and spelling are so bad that your remarks are barely readable?
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
Its our fault who want everything cheap !
"When will we learn" is a good comment only if it means knowing that this is our own fault.
We are giving away our jobs and to make ourselves feel better we blame it on other countries getting them. Those who decide to outsource are Americans too, so don't say that some country is taking away our jobs, they are saying 'thank you' to what we gift them. And why would they refuse such good money !
Our policies and mindset needs to change. We need cheaper goods everyday and so companies are left with this option or go bankrupt.
ITS OUR FAULT !!!
Posted by csg7 (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
uh-uh
You are right about giving the jobs away, it isn't like they are strong-arming companies to take jobs.

However...

They can stop paying outrageous salaries and bonuses to CEO's, especially when they come out of a bankruptcy situation.
Time had an article about how many companies pay CEO's tens of millions of dollars for 2 years work, and they give them outrageous pension systems. The number was astounding but there appears to be nothing that the common man can do. And please don't say voting, if either party could come up with a candidate that had a brain, a heart , and the nerve, we might have a shot(but that hasn't happened any time recently.)
Posted by schubb (202 comments )
Link Flag
Options for help...
1. Go to your local Apple Computer Store to the Genius Bar.
2. Go to www.apple.com & find online support or FAQ's about your issue.
3. Go to your local Apple VAR tech desk for help.

Yes...this is not a good thing to outsource your help calls to India...

Why not open a new call center in New Orleans & train / hire people who need some help?
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tech support locations
Apple has had one call center in India for several years. In the last
year, Apple has also opened three call centers in the US and one in
Canada (as well as several in Europe.) Don't get your panties in a
wad over this, guys. It's just part of doing business.
Posted by brettlea (8 comments )
Link Flag
good point
Good point. But hey...Apple wouldn't fatten their bottom line that way. Besides who cares about NewO? Obviously not a whole lot of people since everything around New Orleans looks like hurricane just happened few hours ago.
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Link Flag
Already There
This isn't something that Apple is planning to do. They have
already started doing this. Bought a Mac Mini a month ago and had
some questions. Call SOSAPPL and go connected with someone
who spoke marginal english and he was the typical AOL-like
clueless that we've grown to know and love, no help at all. Asked
him if he was in India and he said that he was. This is something
that they will regret very soon.
Posted by digitalwimp (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Damn fool idea unless....
.... Apple can find Indians who can speak American, and who
understand fully American culture. So far, companies outsourcing
to India have failed miserable on both counts, There is nothing
worse than trying to interact with a serious well intentioned Indian
who doesn't really understand a thing you say, and has no clue
about what you're talking about.

Same thing occurs with Filipino outsourcing. Hard working people
who don't really have a clue what they are doing.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clueless- Pleasae help
Hard working clueless people !!! Interesting !!!Can you give me a clue if you are happy or unhappy with outsourcing ? I am quite clueless but I feel its a American like you who got all the clues .
Posted by mercuryrising (60 comments )
Link Flag
India call centers
Are we outsourcing Steve Jobs to? Will the next Apple event be in
New Delhi instead of San Francisco? If Apple gained "millions" of
new customers last year. How many are in the good ole USA?. they
don't speak understandable English over therein Indian call centers.
and to them Apples probably grow on trees. I guess our expensive
hardware and computers are only worth cheap labor to service our
machines. I for one are very unhappy with apple's future trending.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Glass houses....
"I for one are very unhappy with apple's future trending"

Rob.. I usually don't point out errors in someones English (mine isn't great either) but you definitely are not qualified to comment on anyones language skills. Look at the sentence you have posted. If that was a joke and intentional, I apologize.
Posted by indrakanti (90 comments )
Link Flag
Stick to the point man !
So you'd be okay if the jobs were outsourced to a country with understandable English, like you clearly get what a guy from England or Australia is saying ! Stick to the point man that we don't want our jobs outsourced and don't target any country. This is why rest of world hates us. I can hear you 'like i care' but you don't even realize that this attitude has now affected American lives.
Posted by csg7 (81 comments )
Link Flag
Why are you frustrated
Whats wrong with Apple having a show in New Delhi. Why are you so upset ?

I am sorry but you are correct.Apple does grow on trees in India .
As per the knowledge of people like you, 'World is us' and no other. Just step out of your room and look around .

Cheap labour is no longer cheap . It was never meant to be cheap but was as advertised by your coporations . We have equal number of talented people as you got there ( you know where I mean) and equal number of lousy people . Let us not comment on each others grammar , syntax or diction.
Posted by mercuryrising (60 comments )
Link Flag
India call centers
Are we outsourcing Steve Jobs to? Will the next Apple event be in
New Delhi instead of San Francisco? If Apple gained "millions" of
new customers last year. How many are in the good ole USA?. they
don't speak understandable English over therein Indian call centers.
and to them Apples probably grow on trees. I guess our expensive
hardware and computers are only worth cheap labor to service our
machines. I for one are very unhappy with apple's future trending.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting concept
Although I understand your frustration, I find your assertion that Americans speak something remotely close to English downright amusing!
We have been butchering the language for a long time now -- it's only fair that we enjoy others doing the same.
The simple truth is that neither Indians nor Americans generally speak English. Natural language tends to be laden with cultural references that don't travel very well.

Perhaps the solution is to only buy products from organizations that can actually provide support for these products?
Posted by nhira (1 comment )
Link Flag
I hope this isn't for US customers
Dell tried this, and we're no longer just buying Dells for our
Windows systems. Where they were leading in support, they
faltered. Now their competition is worth considering again. Let's
hope Apple doesn't fall suit.
Posted by chassoto--2008 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
US Support / Europe Support?
i used to work in Apple Tech Support and a total of 3,000 people by 2007 either spells a lot of expected growth in the next 2 years, or most all front line support currently in USA/Canda is heading east. Some is certainly for Europe, but not 3,000 since that's more of a worldwide total.

On the good side, Macs need quite a bit less support than prior to OSX, and a lot of it might be iPod support since selling 50 million a year of anything, requires more effort. Also good is these jobs aren't really that exciting, it's fun for the first year, then it's burnout time.

Lastly, the increased head count at the Apple Stores shouldn't be overlooked, hard to say how many people Apple employs there worldwide, but even if it's 40 on average per store, that's 4,800 people right there. And while Retail is not really a picnic compared to being a Phone Monkey, it's certainly more rewarding long term.

those are my 2 pennies worth of thought.
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
Link Flag
Apple joins Dell
It is official...Apple has joined the ranks of Dell. Reps that don't have a clue about their customers and plainly do not care about them. As was my experience with Dell representatives that insist on being located in Texas when asked about it, when clearly they are not. Expect horrific attitudes from reps and supervisors alike. Two thumbs up for Apple. As for the 'addition' of more U.S. reps...lie. We keep exporting our jobs to India and countries alike and they keep protesting and calling for our downfall. And we keep paying for their economic expansion and improvements in living. And they still keep calling U.S. the devil. Steve Jobs should move to India along with its staff. Same goes for any company that outsorces.
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Reply Link Flag
let me inform you that you people(U.S) are not doing any charity for other countries in the world. Companies pay for the service they get from other countries. Your comments shows lack of confidence and insecurity.
Do you know how many Indian brains work in night shifts to serve your needs. Reversing our biological cycle, taking food at irregular timings, sleeping for hardly 4 to 5 hours a day. Show some humanity.

We respect Americans, English is not our mother tongue. you may find difficulty in understanding our accent but have you ever thought how hard it is when a dumb customer calls(70% of them are) and we need to troubleshoot over the phone. Its a one call for you but we should take around 50 to 60 calls on an average. We are professional we wont comment about our customers. Sorry if i am rude and if you find any mistakes in my English.
Posted by vagmi (1 comment )
Link Flag
At the risk of sounding Naive.....
Does it really matter where the Support center is.... I have been
using Apple Products for years and have yet to call in for
support. Most of the time Apple support forums online are
sufficient and more recently I just Google my issue and usually
get good results. Calling in for support is a last resort, trust me,
with a little initiative most issues can be addressed with the web
and a couple of mouse clicks.

However if you want to talk Economics, Politics and the
outsourcing of American Jobs.....that is another story for another
forum....
Posted by conshus1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why's that?
I have no particular feelings about whether it matters where my call center is. On the one hand, I understand why people would rather speak with someone free of thick, unfamiliar accents, but on the other hand you're not guaranteed of that with domestic call centers either.

What I'm really curious about is why you think the economic and political aspects of the discussion don't belong on this particular forum. This is a business decision after all, made by a significant US firm. It's nothing but economics.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Link Flag
Another one bites the Dust!
It would appear that Apple has not learned. After many other
companies (Dell Verizon...) out sourced parts of their business to
India, they had to reroute some the calls back to the US. At times I
have called in for technical support and had no problems. At other
times it has been maddening. Over all, I would like to make one
call and not have to be bounced all around.
Posted by jerry_morris (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Ain't gonna buy no more apples
that's 3000 jobs that are being shipped over seas I say they
shipped the wrong Jobs over seas maybe when he goes their to
visit his money he can stop off and visit Mr Jackson another refugee
Posted by Dale Sherbourne (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ain't gonna buy no more apples
that's 3000 jobs that are being shipped over seas I say they
shipped the wrong Jobs over seas maybe when he goes their to
visit his money he can stop off and visit Mr Jackson another refugee
Posted by Dale Sherbourne (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PLEASE, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apple, before you decide to go down this disastrous route, try
the following:

Call SonicWall.com support. Wait 15-30 minutes for someone in
India to pick up. Spend the next 30 minutes navigating around
the necessary language and cultural barriers until the clueless
person in India _finally_ understands your question. Then, try
not to jump out the window when their first response is: "Please
hold while I open the user manual on my screen". Next, even
though you asked a _specific_ question, be prepared to hear the
most general answers in the world, ranging anywhere between
"Have you checked our FAQ document yet?", to "Have you tried
rebooting your hardware?"

Apple, please, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! There is a huge
problem when YOU know more than the "support" person you
are talking to. In my roughly 10 calls to India tech support, I
have yet to be connected to a person who knows more about
technical issues than my mother, let alone me.

- Eric
Posted by zmonster (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Damn Betcha!!!!
.... It's far more truth than any outsourcing company wants to hear,
but it's real. Add BellSouth to the list, and to a degree, HP. It
quickly gets me to the point where customer service, once
outsourced, is totally worthless.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Is cost cutting all that matters?
I wish SJobs would remember how it all started... some American kids in their garage... while the statement tells of no American jobs lost and growth in the American call centers, wouldn't there be MORE growth in AMERICA if ALL the jobs went to AMERICANS? With all the supposed cost-cutting from corporate mergers, downsizing and such, it would be nice to see an AMERICAN company put ALL its efforts into making AMERICA a better place. Apple, Mr. Jobs, please reconsider. Listen to all of us who have to deal with foreign support... the hassle, the language barrier, the scripting and no help whatsoever... Please keep AMERICANS working. Put all of your support help where you started. Give OUR kids a chance.
Posted by DatabaseDoctor (858 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is cost cutting all that matters?
I wish SJobs would remember how it all started... some American kids in their garage... while the statement tells of no American jobs lost and growth in the American call centers, wouldn't there be MORE growth in AMERICA if ALL the jobs went to AMERICANS? With all the supposed cost-cutting from corporate mergers, downsizing and such, it would be nice to see an AMERICAN company put ALL its efforts into making AMERICA a better place. Apple, Mr. Jobs, please reconsider. Listen to all of us who have to deal with foreign support... the hassle, the language barrier, the scripting and no help whatsoever... Please keep AMERICANS working. Put all of your support help where you started. Give OUR kids a chance.
Posted by DatabaseDoctor (858 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Huh?!
(while keeping your upper and lower teeth together, speak fast with a pitched modulated voice)
Good morning. I am your American helpdesk officer. My name is Noo... I mean Jack. What can I do for you? ... U-hum... Hmmm... You wanna but a watch? No? DVD, DVD?

Joke... :-D

Nothing wrong with the plan I guess. At least there's a call center to begin with...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dont worry the world is turning
"Hello this is call center for XYZ . How may I help you "

"I am sorry , I do understand English . Do you know any of the Indian languages? "

"UMM guess no. I do not know any Indian language"

" Even your English is not Indianised. I wonder why they set up call centers in US to service Indian customers "
"I am sorry .We do have accent neutralization training but I am finding it difficult to talk like an Indian"

" Damn it . I will never buy XYZ's product. Pathetic call center support"
Posted by mercuryrising (60 comments )
Link Flag
I can't believe that Apple is going down, too!
I have been using Dell for years and got so completely fed up with the POOR and marginal service through the Indian call centers, that I just ordered the new 'Mac Pro' laptop with the idea of shifting from Dell completely! ...And now, I learn that Apple is going down the same bad service path!

Given the premium price I am paying and the software shift sacrifices I am having to make, I am really wondering if it was worth it to shift back to Mac. I have ordered but not yet taken delivery on my new Mac, since this poor service issue was literally my primary reason for shifting back - needless to say I am feeling pretty disgusted by the move and beginning to think I will not take delivery on my new Mac Pro laptop.

This is really a bad business decision by Apple.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Did you not read the article... They are NOT opeing the center in India...
The article says they considered opening starting a call center for support in India, and they have now decided against it... Apparently you have not read the article...

Still, having recently purchased a MacBook, I am glad they are not outsourcing this kind of support.
Posted by zhil (2 comments )
Link Flag
Sign of good days to come
Today there is no country in the world which is self reliant, rather each and every country depends on other in one way or another. It is better to understand this reality sooner. It is the age of countries with out boundaries and we are living in global village.
Posted by itispals (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ipod
i think the Dell fiasco story is overrated, we Indians have moved on and are now able to provide much better world class support, I am sure some of you experienced a few bad episodes even now, but heck you get that with US customer service too. I have lived in the US for the past 10 years and I have experienced a few bad customer service calls myself. The fact is the guys in India are hungry, they are hungry to learn, hungry to make money, hungry to have a better life. So they will constantly adapt themselves to get better at what they do.

I think a company like Apple which prides itself on its quality and class is making a statement by coming to India. And all I can say is, Welcome to India, Namaste!
Posted by ash_ak (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am curious, what if?
It is a known fact, that the call centres in both Bangladesh and India are totally and absolutely dependent on the Geosynchronous orbital Satellite Telecomunication system!

Further it is also known that these centers, in order to put in the lowest subcontractor bids, usually have 2nd , 3rd and 4th hand subcontractors supplying staff and equipment, this gives rise to serious questions as to the non existent customer data security from these organizations, together with long term functionality/reliability?

The curiousity arises from one simple fact, what if mainstream satellite communications are severely disrupted or sections taken down during a very severe Solar Ion storm! Ooops goodbye to all call centers in both India and Bangaladesh. For replacement items for destroyed or badly damaged geosynchronous communication satellites are not exactly off the shelf items, and the technology for the recovery of these high orbital devices, has yet to be implemented!

In developed countries backup resever communication systems exist, where as in the third world no such items exist period!

Oh well, all the execs that choose to go offshore, use cost as a prime consideration, and do not consider either the importance of customer data security or create backup disaster plans in the event of communication satellite failures! No what if planning and that's why we payem the big bucks!

Shortly the next 11 year peak sunspot cycle is due, and only time will tell!

For we have seen the cascade effect of a data leak of secure customer data ,caused the total collapse of one organization, together with a new continuing Citibank debit card crisis, where the company is not telling all!, to it's customers! This is not a good way for a bank to keep cashed up paying customers(if you're telling lies and withholding information, then what else is wrong or amiss?, with the financial institution, would be one of the many questions in the customers mind?)
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am curious too
<<<<that the call centres in both Bangladesh and India are totally and absolutely dependent on the Geosynchronous orbital Satellite Telecomunication system!>>>>

I guess there is something known as optical fibre that also connects two regions . You do not need the above thing always . And I think India is connected to many countries using this method.

<<<< In developed countries backup resever communication systems exist, where as in the third world no such items exist period!>>>>
Period is not the final world. Your knowledge of India and its company is almost equal to zero . If there is a server , there is a back up . Your US companies might not be sending so much work to India if Indian are working in cowshed with battery operated computers

<<<Shortly the next 11 year peak sunspot cycle is due, and only time will tell>>>
Are you an astrologer cursing companies.If so you have good career in India. A lot of politicians in India do ask astrologers about cycles of sun and moon . Probably you can help.

<<<<<For we have seen the cascade effect of a data leak of secure customer data ,caused the total collapse of one organization, together with a new continuing Citibank debit card crisis, where the>>>>>

Has it happened in India or US? How does it relate to outsourcing ?
Posted by mercuryrising (60 comments )
Link Flag
From a guy who WORKS in Bangalore for call centers....
I can say that this is a bad idea. Listen, my job is to teach people who take calls to deal with Americans better.

It's a bad deal. Why? Because in general these people get a 12 day course (now I've had to head up 5 day courses!) on America and go to the phones. They do (for the most part) understand the technology they're working on, but the problem is that they don't understand 'American'. Any sense of humor or frustration conveyed is lost because it's not part of their native language. As a result, you get silence, followed by the instruction to 'Check the power cable' even if you've been working on computers for 20 years.

I really don't blame these workers- they're merely trying to get jobs in a country that's saturated with IT-heavy careers. The real fault may lie in American companies who outsource.

In the end, you get hardworking Indians getting screamed at by frustrated customers, and customers who don't get the service they deserve.

Bad deal, as I said.
Posted by Vinoj (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Indians Answering phones in America
Just a couple weeks ago I called up a hotel in the middle of nowhere in the upper Northeast (USA) and got somebody who had a heavy Indian accent. I was afraid they were using an Indian call-center or something and it was very difficult to understand him, but we managed.

Come to find out he WASN'T in India, that he WAS on location! Makes me really glad to not have released any frustration out on him! All things considered he was just as good as the native American-English speaking manager before him.

With the growth of Indian descendants in America growing you may not HAVE to have your call directed to India to get somebody with an Indian accent, but at least if they are in America they will probably pick up American humor and manners.
Posted by dragonbite (452 comments )
Link Flag
I hope more companies follow.
I don't think companies are getting it.
With year 2000, no cap on computer learning and Sept 11, the high tech sector has suffered enough.
We have corporate spies that come to our countries to steal instinctual content and ideas.
We give contracts to countries that under bid ours by fractions of a percentage.
The poor service and length in time resolving problems due to communications out way any benefit.
Stealing software and selling it back to us at a fraction of the cost.
Next time you speak to someone in support and your not happy, send the company an email to voice your displeasure.
Posted by compuguruchrisbarnes (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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