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August 18, 1999
NIIT and Aptech reveal secret dealPrakash Chawla in New Delhi
NIIT Limited and Aptech Limited, the top two players in India's Rs 12 billion computer education industry, today admitted they have an agreement to not disclose which one of them is the country's number one training company.
But neither will divulge which of them is really number one to the media, market research or ranking agencies, spokespersons of both Aptech and NIIT have said.
Unlike the rest of the information industry where the employee turnover ratio is the highest among all industries, Aptech and NIIT have also this arrangement of not poaching on each other's professionals.
Industry observers like Cyber Media and Media Transasia agree that the top two companies are following a policy of information censor that makes meaningless any ranking of companies in the training business.
''What kind of ranking can we have in a market where the third player is way behind, making any comparison ridiculous,'' said a senior editor of an industry journal that publishes surveys that rank IT companies.
"It is like Pepsi and Coke reaching an agreement and calling a marketing truce," the editor of another IT journal said.
An NIIT spokesperson tried to justify the arrangement by saying ''Perception is very important in this industry and the perception of any one of us being number one would severely damage the other.''
Aptech spokesperson talked in a similar vein and admitted that even on the pricing package there is not too much of a difference.
An NIIT spokesperson, on the other hand, insisted they compete fiercely ''in all other respects''.
The two companies do not disclose critical figures but it is estimated that Aptech has more number of centres and students, yet NIIT grosses more revenue.
NIIT also has software development business combined in its total revenue whereas almost 100 per cent of the Aptech business comes from the training business.
Besides the top two, other major vendors in IT training include software solutions integrated, LCC Infotech, Tata Infotech, CMC, Indian Institute of Hardware Technology, First Computers, Pentafour Communications, Jetking, IIS Infotech, Boston Education, SQL Star and IBM Learning Services.
Aptech and NIIT, by their own admission, have cut out a perfect duopoly for themselves in the multibillion rupees computer education industry.
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