The tech giant said it is “not in a position” to fight for users of Indian mobile devices after the company said it would not offer a patch to make it work in India.
In a statement to the WSJ, Apple said it will continue to support the iOS 6.1.1 update to Apple Watch and Apple Watch OS, but that the software was not ready for “many” Indian users and that “Apple Watch does not support a device running the latest iOS 6.”
India is the world’s biggest smartphone market with more than 200 million users and Apple has a presence in India with stores and apps.
In an interview with Reuters, Apple executive vice president of global product strategy Phil Schiller said Apple would not release a fix for users in India unless it received “a substantial number of patches.”
“We don’t know how many,” he said.
“The answer is no.”
Schiller added that Apple is committed to developing the iOS ecosystem “in a way that makes it work for the vast majority of Indian users.”
He said the company will continue developing a tool to help Indians with device and app support and a way to help developers with testing and bug tracking.
The statement by Apple and the other big tech companies follows a similar stance by Microsoft.
Microsoft last week said it plans to support iOS 6, but it is not ready yet.
Apple and Apple OS X maker Intel also declined to comment on the pending release of iOS 6 to India.
“As a leader in the mobile industry, we will continue working closely with our partners in India to provide a platform that supports their customers’ needs and the interests of our customers, and we will work with our Indian partners to deliver the best user experience possible,” said Schiller.
Apple has long been an outspoken critic of India’s policies on free speech and privacy.
In March, Apple filed a lawsuit against India’s government to demand that it block access to popular VPN service TunnelBear, arguing that it could help “mobilize activists in India against the government’s policies,” Bloomberg reported at the time.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision by Microsoft and Apple could make it more difficult for Indian governments to block Apple products in India, as India has a large population of Apple customers.
Apple’s move follows recent events in which Apple has taken a strong stance against India, including a decision to pull ads from Indian social media platform Weibo.