This paper critically examines the theory and practice of public-private partnerships (PPPs) through the example of information and communication technologies and development (ICT4D) in India. The paper compares the roles of, and relationships between, the state and small scale entrepreneurs in ICT4D efforts in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Through this comparison it shows how the political economy within which PPP models operate, and in particular the state’s relative emphasis on financial versus social goals, determines who benefits most from current ICT4D projects. It finds that, despite pro-poor intentions, and regardless of levels of state involvement in projects, the benefits of these projects are mainly captured by the middle classes. Micro-entrepreneurs who run ICT enabled businesses and maintain close connections with the state are also likely to benefit from PPPs through increased incomes. The paper further argues that, through these ICT4D projects, states in India are trying to reshape themselves into market friendly, efficient entities that traditionally defined the private sector. It finds that in this negotiation, the state is not dasiaprivatizedpsila, but retains a sense of its own development agenda and remains necessary for the credibility of PPPs in civil society.