Back in May there was a lot of talk about the what and the why of the rise of mobile versus desktop Web usage in India. But then people seemed to stop paying attention. Well, it went from a flirtation then to full-on penetration now, as the chart below shows. Does this mean desktop is f**ked, or will mobile’s share shrink again?

Image via StatCounter

I was going through some old screenshots today and came across the one from earlier this year, back in January 2012:

Source: Statcounter

That’s when I went to StatCounter to check the latest. At first I thought that nobody noticed, but a search shows that the story is picking up. Cue Indian media to be all over this in the next couple days.

What is this mobile of which you speak?

In India, mobile means Nokia. Nearly 54% of the traffic comes from Symbian or Series40, and as this chart shows, Series 40 has been cannibalizing Symbian.

Source StatCounter

Where is iOS? It doesn’t exist! Not at least in terms of Web usage. It registers below Sony Ericsson in the chart below (I’ve deactivated a lot of the low-usage ones, they barely register either).

Source StatCounter

Whither (wither) Mac?

There are places in India where all you see are Macs. Once in the span of 2 hours I saw eight Macs laptops (including one iPad) in use, and the place only has 10 tables. (Incidentally, the second place is also home of these delightful restroom doors, which, Sun Myung Moon).

India is not Apple country. Too expensive? Sure. Beyond that, I think that most people don’t perceive value in Macs and iPhones. Given the option of spending $750 on a iPhone or $250 on a phone and $500 on a lump of gold, I would guess that most Indians would take the second option. After all, the iPhone is just a phone, and functionally it doesn’t do anything more than other phones.

What does all this mean? Maybe Apple should gold-plate its products? Clearly Apple hasn’t sold all the iPhones that it could, and a $500 iPad is well within the reach of many Indian families. One major issue that I see is that there is no iTunes store for music and video in India. The iPhone grew out of the iPod, which became huge because of the iTunes store and the ease of purchase and download that it offered. Apple needs to open the iTunes store in India for music, videos and ebooks. Then iPhones and iPads would be seen more as worth having. What’s probably stopping Apple is the stance of content owners, Indian copyright laws and the barriers to online commerce in India.

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