What does the U.S. tech press know about Indian politics and government?
On Monday we got a wave of headlines—the third in as many months—declaring Apple's plans to sell refurbished iPhones in India to be dead on arrival.
It's a story that practically writes itself. It fits the click-friendly Apple-is-doomed narrative, and it makes Tim Cook's whirlwind tour of India seem like a failure.
Color me dubious.
First of all, most of these pieces are me-too stories, quickie re-write jobs citing the same handful of news outlets that still maintain bureaus on the subcontinent.
But even those reports are thin. They all quote the same source: Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who reiterated her distaste for used iPhones at a press conference Monday:
"We are not in favor of any company selling used phones in the country, however certified they may be."
Is Sitharaman's word final? Does she speak for the Indian government?
I know almost nothing about Indian politics, and I suspect most of the U.S.-based journalists who wrote those "officially rejected" headlines know even less.
I do know, because I looked it up, that there are 65 officials in the Indian government with the title of minister, and that some of them might also have say in the matter. Check it out.
Source: Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.