Microsoft and Apple are among the companies that have provided advanced and exciting technology products that are in use today. Considered as premiere companies in the information technology industry, both companies continue to create innovative IT solutions and gadgets that make life easier and interesting for humans. The good news about this is that they have a wide reach of audience considering that their products are globally-accepted and looked up to as top products in the industry. Thus, every time Microsoft and Apple launch new products, people are keen in understanding and purchasing the latest product offerings of both companies.
Lead by Bill Gates, among the products that Microsoft produce are Microsoft Office, Windows XP, and the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. Considered as one of the most practical and popular products of Microsoft, Office remains to be the top productivity application that runs and is compatible with various operating systems and other applications and gadgets. Windows XP remains to be the most accepted operating system up to now because of the simplicity of using the operating system, as well as being the “first Microsoft operating system that used 64-bit processors designed for working with large amounts of memory” (Smith). Because of XP, users were able to experiment on movie special effects and 3D animations (Smith), among others. The Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse is another innovation that Microsoft added to its long list of stylish accessories. It is mobile, easy to carry, curves when in use, and flattens for storage. Because of its sleek design and features such as “Bluetooth connection, long battery life, and precision scrolling the [Arc] has won many awards and accolades” (Smith).
On the other hand, Apple has also produced hardware and applications that influenced various industries such as music, telecommunications, and the information technology industries, among others. With Steve Jobs on the helm, Apple has become one of the preferred brands in the global market today. Among the products that Apple produced is the iMac, an “all-in-one personal computer, with the monitor and CPU in one system” (The Street) enclosed in a see-through casing. The iMac is credited as the pioneer in integrating USB ports as parts of a standard computer system. Another important invention from Apple is the iPod, which was introduced in the market as giving an individual the chance to store music right in their pockets (The Street). While not the pioneer in providing mobile music, Apple is credited for coming up with the click-wheel used for navigating through the iPod’s music library. Other versions of the iPod include iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini, and iPod Touch. Although known as a credible manufacturer of hardware products, Apple became popular even more because of a software invention that further entrenched the company to where it is now. iTunes allowed users to store their music in one place. Still a free download, iTunes now also allows users to “burn CDs and purchase MP3s, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and other forms of content” (The Street) directly from the source.
Benefits of Global Operations
For companies such as Microsoft and Apple, ensuring that products are world-ready is already synonymous to increase in revenue and profit for the company as this means more users worldwide can have access to the application or hardware. It also means it would be easier to fix issues relating to design as all products have the same specifications. Therefore, taking into account what international customers need or want saves the company developmental costs if design or feature changes need to be updated. In the same light, if there is a need to localize specific software or application codes, identifying specific modules to update is easier. This is the same when there is a need for the company to customize features based on the preferences of the customer, which will further add value to the software or hardware as it appears that it was developed with a particular market in mind. Going global also helps empower the customers and users because “a world-ready product that supports many languages provides a common platform for communication and collaboration across the Intranet and Internet for any user, anywhere and in any language” (“Top Ten Benefits of Developing Globally”). Doing so guarantees that customer satisfaction increases as user experience in using the products is enhanced. Finally, having a world-ready product ensures that the products are always ahead of competition, which gives the company an advantage in terms of understanding what the customers’ needs and wants are (“Top Ten Benefits of Developing Globally”).
Challenges of Global Operations
While the trend these days is to go global, the reality is that operating in a global scale also presents some risks for companies. Companies must realize that customers’ changing purchasing patterns and demand dictate a new trend of consumerism. Morgan (2003) claimed that with the institution of “catalogue, online discount houses and home shopping networks” (p. 2), how consumers opted to spend their money also changed as they embraced the various choices available to them at greater convenience. In some instances, products are easily sold online than on actual retail stores as customers are given more access to products and services.
In addition, outsourcing is becoming the norm now in the information technology industry, which allows multinational companies to hire employees at a lower cost but with the same high quality of output (Morgan, 2003, p. 3). To become successful, companies must set up global offices as well in order to take advantage of the talent pool available in other countries. Although it could mean that companies will have to let go of some employees in the mother company to accommodate the low-salaried employees, the amount of saving the company is expected to gain is too hard to ignore, top it off with “increased competition, declining markets, and changes in consumer loyalty” (Morgan, 2003, p. 3). Other possible issues include communication challenges that includes dealing and meeting with people from different time zones, resulting to a lack of respect for other people’s personal time (Morgan, 2003, p. 5). Another problem is the challenge on evaluating and assessing the total performance of employees who are located in various parts of the globe considering that cultures have different work ethics, which may not necessarily be the same as the parent company’s and yet, they still get the work done with quality results (Morgan, 2003, p. 7).
Parallels between Microsoft/Apple Companies and Our Own Company
Considering the above benefits and challenges of global operations, I see similarities and parallelisms in how our company handles the business. We have satellite offices in various parts of the world including Europe and Asia, and while we are enjoying good sales, increase in revenue, and great customer feedback, we also experience the challenge of working with people with different work values as ours. We also have language communication problems because some of the people we work with do not use English as their first language, thus, sometimes, they find it difficult to express themselves verbally or in written communications. When it comes to evaluation of our work or final output, our immediate managers are the ones who handle the assessment part because they are the ones who see our work output and attitude, although at the start of the year, we usually begin coming up with our global company, team, and individual goals.
Morgan, H. (2003). The challenges of global marketplace. Retrieved from http://www.howardjmorgan.com/downloads/pdf/The_Challenges_of_a_Global.pdf
Smith, K. (2012). Microsoft’s 10 best products of all time. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/best-microsoft-products-ever-2012-8?op=1
The Street. (2012). Best Apple products ever. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/thestreet/2012/10/10/best-apple-products-ever/
“Top ten benefits of developing globally.” (n.d.). Retrieved from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-au/goglobal/bb978432.aspx