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India eyes home-grown OS to compete with Android, iOS

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The Indian government is hoping to spur the nation’s private sector to create a national mobile operating system that can compete with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), said this week his agency plans to encourage the tech industry and academic institutions to collaborate on a home-grown Indian mobile OS, according to a report in The Economic Times of India.

“There is no third one,” Chandrasekhar said. “Therefore, in a lot of ways there is tremendous interest in MeitY and in the Government of India to even create a new handset operating system. We are talking to people. We are looking at a policy for that.”

Industry analysts were immediately skeptical that an indigenous OS in India could compete with the likes of Apple’s or Android’s mobile platforms.

Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, said that while its laudable India is trying to create a competitor and launch more tech industries within the country, “it’s very unlikely that it can produce a true competitor to Android especially and also iOS.”

This is not India’s first attempt to create its own operating system nor would the country be the first to attempt it now, Gold noted. For example, China’s Alibaba Group developed a local-services arm and debuted the “Alibaba Local Services Operating System.”

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