Apple Incorporated has set high standards in innovation for both hardware and software for consumer electronics. The company has continually revolutionized the technological scene since its inception in 1976. From its humble beginnings with the Apple I to the current success of iPods, iPhones and iPods, the company has come a long way (Datamonitor, 2012). At its inception, the company relied on the technical genius of its founders to succeed. Early products such as the Apple Lisa failed not because of low technological integrity but because of a high selling price and limited software options. The Macintosh, which was taunted as the turning point for Apple Inc., was launch in 1984 (Datamonitor, 2012). Just like the previous products, the sales were low due to its high price tag and few software applications.
The late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had to learn from these mistakes and find strategic business solutions to combine with their inventions. Steve Jobs, now deceased, has been credited with providing excellent leadership to Apple Inc contributing immensely to its present success (Datamonitor, 2012). He had a reputation as a visionary leader with the ability to breakdown complex processes into understandable tasks. His reclusive nature and secrecy are legendary (McLoughlin, D. & Aaker, 2010). This always helped to keep Apple clients eager and the media guessing until the company was ready to release its new product. This strategy has been instrumental to the success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
The first strategic choice made by the top management at Apple Inc was to build a user interface full of easy to apply applications or apps. An application is a program designed to perform specific tasks such as give regular stock reports or even games. The applications brought a fresh approach to the technological market. Apple clients could easily access music, movies, information, and games easily at the App Store, which offered these products at standardized prices (McLoughlin, D. & Aaker, 2010). Apple controlled the quality of content therefore maintaining a high standard for the Apple experience for its clients.
The second strategic decision was to open up the creation of its applications to other software companies. Senior managers at apple realized that they could online provide so much variety for its clients. To give their dynamic clientele a wider experience, other players would have to be involved. Apple Inc. enlisted the services of various Silicon Valley companies, which had to comply with its stringent specifications.
The company is currently increasing its technological competence through acquisitions. The company acquired Anobit in January 2012 for $390 million. The Israeli company owns the technology that makes memory signals for the flash memory used by Apple in iPads and iPhones. The company is also continuing Steve Job’s dream to further education by introducing iBooks. The new generation iPad introduced a Retina Display and a 1080p video recording capability. The company has also added C3 another mapping company to its current portfolio of 3 mapping companies.
The generic strategies adopted by Apple Inc. include the use the Differentiation strategy, and the focus strategy, in Porter’s model (QuickMBA 2010). The company is made up of highly skilled individuals who head the various production units. The company created new products, which became synonymous with quality and value for its clients. The iPhone, which has sold an over 100 million units globally was launch after a carefully planned marketing campaign. The phone reportedly sold 600,000 units on its first day in the market. Apple has created a fanatical following for its products because of its reputation for quality, innovation, and value.
Apple Inc. has also adopted the focus strategy. The decision made in 2007 to shift the focus of the business from computers to consumer electronics, set the pace for success. The introduction of the iPhone and Apple TV helped the company share to cross the $100 mark. The company introduced the online application store, which provided various products for its clients (Datamonitor, 2012). This control of the product established Apple in the smart phone market.
These strategies have been successful because they gave Apple a great advantage in the market. The company has built its brand around quality and usability. Apple products are built to the highest standard in technology and design. Their softwares make their products some of the most user-friendly in the market. The strong brand name of Apple Inc. products, which are denoted by the prefix “i” is one of the company’s biggest strengths (Yoffie, and Kim, 2010). Others include its ownership of valuable patents and a highly skilled labor force spread across the globe.
The company identified an opportunity to sell an MP3 player together with a large store of compatible music. This idea gave birth to the iPod and the iTunes store which sells music cheaply to iPod users. This opportunity turned around the fortunes of Apple and gave the company the advantage it needed to dominate the market.
Some of the weaknesses within Apple Inc are poor labor practices especially in China. The company has been accused of operating sweatshop conditions in some of its factories in China. The companies contracted by Apple Inc have been accused of exploiting workers by making them work 60 hour weeks for as little as $100 per month. The company’s environmental record is also in question. Some of the components of the iPhone are poisonous to the environment and are not recyclable.
The company faces threats from competitors both in the market place and in courtrooms. In recent times, there has been great battle for the control of the smart phone market. Larger companies such as Samsung and Nokia have been Apple’s greatest competition. Apple has also been embroiled in several lawsuits over products. A US jury ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion to Apple in an intellectual property suit filed by Samsung.
Datamonitor (2012). Company Profile: Apple Inc. Datamonitor McLoughlin, D. & Aaker, D., (2010).Strategic Market Management: Global Perspectives.
New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Quickmba.com (2010). Porter's Generic Strategies. Quick MBA. Retrieved August, 2011, from http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/generic.shtml
Yoffie, D., and Kim, R (2010). Apple Inc. in 2010. Harvard Business Course Publishing.