Updated: One of our readers, who wishes to remain anonymous, doesn’t want this marriage between a device manufacturer and telecom operator, saying that he’s worried about the neutrality of the applications on the device if this deal does go through. He points us towards this video. The belief is that if RIL intends to bundle such a device, they can bring down the cost to consumer to less than Rs. 10,000. An increase in distribution may result in a move to control the content being delivered, and since both device and network will be owned by the same entity, the neutrality of the network may be compromised. What do you think? My take – not impossible, but too many assumptions here.
Earlier today: A little over a month ago, on June 10th 2010, we contacted two Reliance ADA Group entities – Reliance Entertainment and Reliance Venture Asset Management (formerly Reliance Technology Ventures Ltd) – for a confirmation or a denial of investment in Notion Ink, a company which has showcased a tablet called Adam, a competitor for the iPad. The previous day, Notion Ink founder Rohan Shravan had announced that the company had closed its final round of funding, not disclosing the amount of investment or the names of the investors.
Both ADA Group companies categorically denied any such plans. Our basis for asking them: we’d heard that “Reliance” had invested in the company. Remember that this was on June 10th, and Reliance Industries was not (yet) involved in telecom or digital businesses. The very next day, the Broadband Wireless Auction results were announced, and Reliance Industries swooped in and acquired Infotel, marking its return to the telecom space with 20Mhz of spectrum across 22 circles.
Businessline reported yesterday that Reliance Industries may be investing in Notion Ink, citing unnamed sources. Both Notion Ink and Reliance Industries have not confirmed or denied the development. The larger question still remains: why would RIL consider investing in Notion Ink? Perhaps is the multi-million dollar opportunity that the tablet market contains – Apple has sold over 3 million iPads in less than 3 months, and might reach a situation where it struggles to meet demand for the device; as Notion Ink founder Shravan pointed out in his blog post, sales of 100,000 devices a month would mean $350 million in revenues, and to meet its global ambitions, Notion Ink would require millions of dollars in funding. But why would Notion Ink go with RIL, and not, perhaps, an international investor? Going by Shravan’s post, the investment appears to have been closed already.