Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has visited the UAE and to hold a meeting with Ahmad Julfar, CEO of the Etisalat Group, and Khalid Al-Kaf, CEO of the Etisalat-led, Saudi-incorporated Mobily, for talks on the companies’ ties and Apple’s presence across the Middle East and Africa.
The two companies agreed to work together to bring more innovations in the region in sectors of high growth potential and of strategic importance to both companies.
“We are all about making great products that people don’t know they need today, but which when they have them, they find that they can’t live without,” said Cook, adding: “We would like to bring our passion to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Africa.”
Apple has been losing market share to Samsung and its popular range of Galaxy Android smartphones. According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Samsung handsets account for more than 16% to Apple’s 7.8% in terms of UAE mobile market share.
By strengthening its relationship with Etisalat, Apple can gain better access to the telecom provider’s sizeable footprint across 15 countries in the Middle East and Africa, including its market presence in the key population centres of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria.
Julfar meanwhile praised the excellent relationship between Etisalat and Apple over the last four years based on an agreement over the sale of devices across the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier in the week, Cook also met HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.