The celebrated Aakash project has been in the limelight for good, bad and ugly reasons. Late last week reports surfaced revealing that cracks had developed between Canadian manufacturer for the world’s cheapest tablet, Datawind, and Quad Electronic, its Hyderabad-based assembly partner. In the blame game, Quad Electronics claimed they did receive payment from Datawind. On the other hand, Datawind said that Quad Electronics had infringed on their intellectual property rights and allegedly also signed a separate memorandum of understanding (MoU) directly with IIT-Rajasthan. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind shoots back calling the report an inaccurate and negative sensationalist attempt. Putting an end to speculations, he says that the company is still working on the Aakash-2 and will be supplying 100,000 Aakash-2 tablets through IIT-Bombay.
In a press statement issued by Tuli, he clarifies that Datawind’s team internally developed Aakash and only subcontracted the assembly of Aakash Tablet to Quad Electronics. So, the Intellectual Property Rights of the Tablet belong to Datawind and Quad has signed a non-disclosure agreement and a manufacturing services agreement confirming this. “Quad Electronics breached Datawind’s intellectual property, circumvented their relationship with IIT-Rajasthan, signed a direct MoU with them and then sold off their inventory in the open market. Datawind has since appointed new partners to assemble the tablet,” he added.
No pending payments
He goes ahead to clear the air about Quad Electronics’ accusations over payment. “Datawind would also like to clarify that Quad Electronics has been paid for the units delivered to Datawind, except for the 600 units that remain unpaid by IIT-Rajasthan. DataWind’s counterclaim against Quad exceeds any amount due to them. There is no further payment due to Quad, contrary to their allegations,” Tuli expressed.
Aakash, the cheapest tablet ever, has seen some improvements but it has also been receiving flak for its performance and customer support service. “In response to concern about tardy customer response. Datawind would like to state that their toll-free number is working – but since it receives almost 40,000 calls per day, there is often a logjam resulting in incomplete calls. Any person that has made a deposit, is responded to within 48 hours of receipt of payment, and is provided a specific Email address and specific phone number to call for queries – instead of the toll-free number.”
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