project report on apple inc by shrey420


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Q7.     Analyse performance from 1981 (decade wise). What are the current and emerging

In this decade starting from early 80’s, Apple had been making steady progress. By the end of the
decade their net sales grew by almost six times and they even more than doubled their employees.
Apple invested huge amounts into research and development of their PC Macintosh which did give good
results. They also managed to maintain a very high gross margin on their products which varied between
49-53%. Apple did not expand into international territory and most of their sales came from the
domestic market itself. During this decade, the market value of Apple doubled, thereby also increasing
the stock prices of the shares as well.


This was a tumultuous decade for Apple. They began well in the early 90s, carrying forward the success
of the earlier decade with sales growing by three times. Apple continued heavy investments in its
research and development programmes, especially in the OS development. Apart from this, the
company’s profits also doubled. Due to the growing business Apple recruited heavily and increased the
workforce almost three times. Apple also started to expand internationally exploring new territories and
by 1991 45% of their sales were away from home. Despite all this their gross margins reduced. But by
mid 1990s, Apple started to dwindle for a number of reasons. For the first time since inception they
made heavy losses, their gross margin reduced to 10% and their market value hit rock bottom. This was
despite the fact that their sales kept on increasing. By 1998, after Steve Jobs was reinstated, the
company started getting a grip on their financials. Even though they did not make large volume of sales,
Jobs managed to get the company out of losses and put it back on track to recovery.

By the turn of the century, Apple was profitable again, with profitability and market share increasing.
This was due to the launch of iPod and iTunes which helped save Apple from a disaster.


After a consolidative start in the early 2000s, Apple witnessed phenomenal success in this decade. Most
of it is attributed to the launch of iPod in 2001. Apple experimented with various revenue models for
themselves apart from hardware itself. By 2007, the company launched iPhone which changed the game
for smartphones all together. Subsequently they launched the iPad. Apart from this, they improvised on
their OS and focused on laptops. By 2009, Apple’s net sales increased five times and it made more than
eight times the profit it did at the start of the century. Apple had to invest heavily in research and
development and continued doing so. Their workforce also increased in folds and almost half of their
sales came from other countries, especially the emerging markets. Apple’s market value increased and it
is currently one of the most valuable companies in the world. Currently it is sitting on a stash of $98
billion and has a market capitalization of $400 billion, with its share prices surging to $600.

Current Challenges:

      1) Steve Jobs – Demise of the iconic CEO has caused considerable amount of flutter in the industry
          and people are speculating the moves of Tim Cook. The problem was that Jobs made himself
          irreplaceable and the company though well organized revolved around him.
      2) AT&T – Their bad services in a lot of areas in the US is draining down the goodwill of Apple from
          its users.
      3) Computers – Apple iPads are soon going to make Macbook Pro obsolete soon. The future will be
          more mobile, faster, smaller and better.
      4) The App Store – There is too much scrutiny by Apple on the kinds of apps that are available. This
          might become unsustainable soon.
      5) Security – Even though Apple OS is not affected much by malware, they still need to be on the
          watch for any vulnerability.
      6) Mobile Me – This iPhone interface to the Mac has web apps which are essentially of no use.
          Apple does not need to invest in these.
      7) Back Ups – Most back-ups for Apple products are local. This is a major problem in case of data
      8) Apple TV – Apple TV has proved to be a failure. It needs major functional and services changes in
          order to attract buyers.
      9) Arch Rivals – Apple has grown too big to be challenged by anyone. This will make them
      10) About box credits – Due to the fear of headhunting, Apple’s designers are not given credits. This
          might cause dissatisfaction in the workforce.

Q8.       What are your recommendations regarding these challenges and why?
      1. Steve Jobs. Timothy Cook, the new CEO needs to get into the role quickly. Although he can
         never replace the celebrity CEO, but still it is important for him to think about the future of
         Apple and quickly design a road map for the same. The optimistic view is that Jobs has
         structured it to run like his other company, Pixar, which manages to turn out hit after hit, year
         after year, without a charismatic celebrity leader.

      2. AT&T. The service provider has been a cause of concern for Apple users as the service provided
         by AT&T is not of best standards. Since it is Apple’s sole provider, Apple needs to look into it.
         The good news is that AT&T desperately needs the iPhone that Apple can extract far better
         terms from them than it ever could from Verizon. The company should review AT&T's plans and
         work out the kinks. Meanwhile, however, AT&T's service problems are draining Apple's good

      3. Computers. Gruber thinks he's seen the future of computers, and it is the iPad. "It's really, really
         good," he gushed. If you are sitting on a couch and you need a computer, most people are going
         to reach for the iPad, not the MacBook Pro. And that puts Apple into uncharted territory. For

       the first time since the original Mac replaced the Apple II, it has two overlapping computer
       products. And although it took a few years for the corpse to grow cold, the Apple II basically
       died the day the Mac arrived.

   4. The App Store. There are two schools of criticism about the iPhone App Store: The most vocal
      critics say that it is totally going in the wrong direction and should be doing what Google does
      with the Android Marketplace -- offer users the option of downloading apps that aren't vetted
      and approved. The other school says that Apple is going in the right direction, but is hurtling at
      great speed a few degrees off course. There's never before been a tightly controlled system with
      150,000 apps. This might prove to be really unsustainable in the future and Apple should
      reconsider the tight control it has over App store.

   5. Security. Microsoft put a lot of effort into building strong malware protection into Windows 7
      because its operating system is under constant attack. Apple users don't fret nearly as much
      about Mac OS X malware because there is so little of it. But Apple has a sluggish response to its
      own publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. For example, it took Apple 75 days to respond to a hole in
      Open SSL -- the open-source encryption system that is supposed to protect credit card data from
      getting loose on the Internet -- even though the vulnerability was made public last September.
      Apple is the last vendor to respond, when it ought to be the first. Of the companies that use
      Open SSL -- and Microsoft pointedly does not -- Apple is the biggest.

   6. Mobile Me. It's great for syncing your iPhone to your Mac, but there is no point of Mobile Me's
      Web apps. If you're at your computer, you use Mail and Calendar. If you're out and about,
      you're supposed to use the iPhone. The Web apps are essentially redundant and they should be
      redesigned so that they can serve more useful purposes.

   7. Back Ups. Data loss is a tragedy, and Apple is particularly vulnerable because -- unlike Google --
      the primary storage on their systems is local. Ultimately the long-term solution is to be in the
      cloud, but that puts Apple on poor footing compared with Google. So Apple needs to come up
      with a better solution that Google for online storage.

   8. Apple TV. It's primarily about watching movies and TV shows through the iTunes store, with the
      result that there's a worse selection on Apple TV than there is at any local video store. Therefore
      Apple needs to strengthen its collaboration with a few specialized companies and devise a more
      sustainable revenue model.

   9. Arch Rivals. A company needs direct rivals to stay hungry, but when they get big enough they
      tend to run out of them. Apple's closest rival in smart phones, is Google (which will rake in the
      Web ad riches as Android succeeds), and Palm, whose WebOS would be good for Apple – so that
      Palm to does well. But not too well.

Q6.       Analyse how is Apple`s competitive advantage sustainable in P.C., MP3, iTunes, smart
          phone and iPad?
       Creating a sustainable competitive advantage is one of the hardest things for any firm to achieve.
      This would require a company to do at least one thing better than all the other companies with the
      same products. One company that has established a sustainable competitive advantage is Apple.

      1) It is harder and harder to beat Apple with its deep integration between apps, OS and devices. It
         is reported that iCloud will be offered for free initially, and at some point users will be charged
         $25 annually for subscription of the service. That’s another way to get another recurring
         revenue stream just like MobileMe service.
      2) Apple has finally locked-in deals with big record labels Warner, EMI, Sony, and Universal. With
         30% of revenue from iCloud’s music offering with the major labels, 12% with those holding the
         songwriting rights, and the remaining 58% for Apple to keep. That’s a good profit margin. Not
         only it is helping with the bottom line, it is further strengthening the Apple fortress with all
         these integration.
      3) Apple’s horizontal integration strategy across devices and channels and vertical integration
         strategy from chip design to software and retail is creating a truly sustainable competitive
         advantage that is hard to replicate. For that reason alone, its valuation skyrocketed. This is a
         brilliant example of classic business strategy theory at work.
      4) Every single Apple products complement (compete) and complete each other. Get an iPod, and
         you can download content via iTunes and access them though iCloud and use that to move
         content to iPad or other devices. This sort of control over the entire user experience or process,
         from hardware to software, strengthens customer loyalty and provides lock-in. You cannot leave
         Apple once you’re in. It is becoming the consumer equivalent of IBM for business.
      5) Where Apple really stands out is in marketing. The company simply seems to understand what
         will get people excited about its products, and then it executes on that vision. The company
         does not talk much about features or technology, but about how the computer will make your
         life better.
      6) Apple has created a sustainable competitive advantage for itself with the iTunes platform.
         Earlier iTunes allowed users to download songs for iPod. Now, iPhone and iPad are also
         integrated with iTunes for apps download. The iTunes platform and its tight integration with
         Apple products are so powerful that Walmart has decided to exit the digital music. iPhone and
         iPad, now contribute nearly 70% of Apple’s revenue.

      7) What Apple can and does sustain is an intangible competitive advantage: friendliness. Based
         upon its design philosophy of making technology simple and easy to use, Apple has positioned
         itself as the friendly brand of personal technology. Apple products are extremely user friendly
         and make technology accessible to everyone. The intangible brand essence is perceived by
         customers as creating superior value and thus serves as an obstacle to competition.

          Overall, Apple still possesses competitive advantages, of which some can even be considered as
          being sustainable. However, with increased efforts of its competitors, Apple is under pressure of

          preserving these advantages. To remain in a leading position, Apple must focus on their core
          competencies and carry on introducing cutting-edge products.

Q4.       Explain Apple`s resources and core competencies & how they were developed?
          Which of the above are Apple`s competitive resources & critical capabilities & why?

Core competencies and distinctive competencies of Apple

A company’s core competencies describe something that a company does best internally. In the cases
of Apple, this includes the following capabilities:

         Innovation and engineering excellence: technological developments and inventions
         Creativity and design: high-end marketing, product design
         HRM policy: HRM department and employees contribute effectively to company’s success

When core competencies constitute aspect that a company does well compared to its competitors, they
become distinctive competencies- firm specific strengths that allow a company to differentiate and/or
lower costs. As we can see in the above illustration, these stem from a company’s resources and
capabilities and shape its strategies, ultimately leading to a competitive advantage and resulting in
superior profitability. So the following resources and capabilities can be regarded as Apple’s distinctive

         Human resources: highly skilled workforce (soft skills, experience, knowledge, initiative, etc.)
         Technological resources: superior information technology (intranet, extranet)
         Engineering and technical development capabilities: short product-to-market cycles and
          innovation/functionality of products
         Creativity capabilities: design of software and hardware

Apple’s engineering and technical development capabilities as well as creativity capabilities are most
important factors and are Apple’s competitive resources. This is because Apple’s ‘out of the box’
technology and innovative design of its products was an outstanding achievement for Apple which
attracted consumers from all parts of the world and its products became pioneer for innovative
technology. These products possessed entertainment characteristics that attracted more and more
customers. Also, Apple’s superior innovation is the most important source of competitive advantage for
the company in the long run.

Apple’s most important resources and capabilities are Steve Jobs, the CEO, and the integrated system of
hardware and software that the firm has developed and successfully marketed to derive value. Steve
Jobs brought Apple back to tremendous success following a decline in relevance and heads the
continued creation of billions of dollars of value. While Apple’s designers, programmers, and engineers
each represent key resources the ability of the firm to exploit their abilities to create their entire
software/hardware ecosystem is the firm’s key capability. Taken each individually, the resources only
represent competitive parities and temporary advantages. The combination is their key capability that
has established a sustainable and ongoing competitive advantage and above average performance
within the industry.

      Steve Jobs
       Apple founder and current CEO Steve Jobs is an incredibly valuable resource to the firm. His
       unique vision and approach to business established Apple as an industry leader in the beginning
       and he saved the firm from a downward spiral when he returned in the mid-1990s. Under his
       guidance the firm has rebounded and excelled in many markets, often defining categories of
       products. To Apple Steve Jobs was a valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable resource.

      Apple Stores –Retail Locations
       The introduction of Apple stores has provided the company with an important physical presence
       to act as both a sales location and an advertisement. The stores allow Apple to tightly control
       the image of the brand and provide excellent customer service. Apple tops many retailers in in-
       store sales, generating $4,032 per retail square foot per year, beating other retailers like Tiffany
       & Co. at $2,666 and Best Buy at only $930. This resource is of incredible value to Apple and a
       success that is a relative rarity in the industry. Matching success and impact like the Apple store
       model is difficult for other firms to achieve. Past experiments like Gateway stores have failed,
       while Sony Style stores founder in mediocrity.

      Relationship with OEMs
       Apple has outsourced all of its manufacturing processes to OEM partners in China, like Foxconn
       and Hon Hai Precision Industry while focusing on design internally. The relationships between
       Apple and their OEM partners are very close to provide Apple with excellent service and high
       quality products. Mutually beneficial business relationships are time-consuming and difficult to
       develop and maintain is of considerable value to Apple and puts them ahead of other
       manufacturers who may decide to outsource some production.

      Industrial Design Capability
       Apple’s incredible industrial design capability is a function of their innovative design teams, led
       by senior vice president of industrial design, and the firm’s prioritization of design and
       outsourced production. This combination is valuable to Apple, rare among competitors, and
       difficult to imitate.

      Talented Software Development Teams
       Apple’s software developers are carefully selected and talented programmers. They’ve
       produced industry award winning software and the highly regarded iterations of Macintosh OSX
       operating system. They’ve provided Apple with important products, but developers of their
       caliber are not rare within the industry, nor are they difficult to imitate. Other firms can develop
       staff as talented or hire them away from Apple.

         Tailored Hardware/Software Systems
          One of Apple’s most important capabilities is their ability to develop and build highly integrative
          systems with software designed specifically for the hardware it runs on. The ‘closed system’
          style of Apple is unique in the industry which typically relies on third-party software (i.e.
          Microsoft Windows running on a Dell computer). This capability comes from a combination of
          the design teams, software development teams, and hardware engineers employed by Apple.
          No other firm in the industry has a system like Apple’s and it would cost millions or billions of
          dollars to imitate, not regarding success. While other systems work for PC manufacturers they
          cannot achieve the same results as Apple’s integrated system.

         Research and Development:
          As the personal computer industry is characterized by rapid technological advances, Apple’s
          ability to compete successfully is dependent on its ability to ensure a continuing and timely flow
          of competitive products and technology to the market. Apple believes in maintaining or
          increasing the pace of innovation and product development as the best way to respond to
          current economic and market conditions. R&D enhances speed of innovation which is consistent
          with the company’s overall strategy and goal to remain the most innovative personal computer

Q2.       Analyse the P.C. industry for its attractiveness based on value net. Consider key
          dominant features and industry driving forces.

              Threat:5                                                          Threat:2.5
              Attractiveness:1                                                  Attractiveness:3.5

The industry is moderately attractive overall. The established players have a history of success and
innovation, but competitors who fall behind the fast moving technological curve, or cannot compete
efficiently on price or differentiate effectively are eliminated. The power asserted by buyers and the
dominance of suppliers puts strain on the industry’s profits. While new entrants are possible, the cost in
dollars and time of successful branding are a hindrance. While some users may move most of their
computing activities to truly mobile devices like smart phones personal computers are likely to remain a
tech staple for the foreseeable future

For Apple’s various products, it came up with softwares and app stores like iTunes, iTunes music store,
Apple app store, etc. These Complementors were of great use for the people using Apple’s products
since they made the consumers’ lives easier as these complementors provided lot many functions to the
consumers. But in contrast to this it was a loss leader for the company as it used to get only a dime of
revenue collected per song and majority of the revenue went to music label that owned it.

Value net:

Apple has a very unique value net. It has pioneered the PC industry with its innovative products and
because of the same it has a huge base of customers all over the world. All the five, i.e. customers,
company, suppliers, competitors and complementors are related to each other, with company being
connected to rest of the four. For Apple, its major competitors were Dell, HP, Nokia, RIM, etc. These
competitors were a driving force for Apple, which in turn played a major role for helping Apple to
become an outstanding company. The complementors are participants from which customers buy
complementary products or services, or to which suppliers sell complementary resources. They are
mirror image of competitors. On the demand side, they increase buyers’ willingness to pay for products;
on the supply side, they decrease the price that suppliers require for their inputs. In essence, Jobs had
created a razor-and-blade business, only in reverse: Here, the variable element served as a loss leader
for a profit-driving durable good since Apple was left with only a dime of revenue collected per song.

Some of the key dominant features are:
        Market Size
        Scope of Competitive Rivalry
        Stage in Life Cycle
        Number of Companies within the Industry
        Customers
        Technology/Innovation
        Product Characteristics
        Scale Economies
        Learning and Experience Effects
        Capital Requirements
        Industry Profitability

Q5.     Comment on Apple`s diversification so far (from P.C. to ipod, istore, iphone and ipad)
        with respect to Ansoff`s matrix 7 comment on common thread, if any?

Apple has diversified immensely since its inception and has emerged to be the leader in the PC industry
because of its unique design and timely innovative products/services. Same can be explained with the
help of Ansoff’s matrix.

The Ansoff’s Product-Market Growth Matrix is a marketing tool that allows marketers to consider ways
to grow the business via existing and/or new products, in existing and/or new markets – there are four
possible product/market combinations. This matrix helps companies decide what course of action
should be taken given current performance.

Market Penetration
Market penetration occurs when a company enters/penetrates a market with current products.
The best way to achieve this is by gaining competitors' customers (part of their market share).
Other ways include attracting non-users of your product or convincing current clients to use
more of your product/service, with advertising or other promotions. Market penetration is
trying to drive an existing product deeper into an existing market.
Apple penetrated the market with its current products/services in the current market in order
to increase its market share and attract non-users towards its products/services. For the same,
Apple came up with iTunes and App store as complementary services for its products. These
services were of immense use for the consumers because of they were user friendly hence,
easy to use.

Product Development:
A firm with a market for its current products might embark on a strategy of developing other
products catering to the same market. The same strategy Apple implemented for its new
product development in the existing market. This was done to gain new customers for its
products and hence, new product development became a crucial business development
strategy for Apple to stay competitive.
Apple came out with its new products/services like iPad, iCloud and brought in lot many
changes in the Mac OS. Apple introduced new OS X in 2001 which was based on UNIX. This
costed Apple roughly $1 billion to develop. Later in 2007, Apple came up with a new version

called Leopard which ran on more than half of all Mac computers by 2010. Apple not only
developed a new product but also managed to attract consumers away Windows XP.

Product development is just as risky as market development, perhaps more so because more
capital will probably be needed in research and development. Apple had two notable products
that failed to live upto expectations. One was Mac Mini and the other was Apple TV. Mac Mini
failed due to limited memory and few expansion options.

Market Development:
An established product in the marketplace can be tweaked or targeted to a different customer
segment, as a strategy to earn more revenue for the firm. For market development and to
increase its revenue, Apple had a huge potential in emerging markets like China and India. Even
though there was an intense competition in these markets from the ‘white box’ PCs, Apple’s
differentiation strategy helped it develop its products/services in these emerging markets. Also,
more than a million first generation iPhones were sold in the grey market, which reflected the
demand for Apple products in other markets of the world.

Diversification involves launching a new product in a new market. Apple started originally as
“Apple Computers”, best known for its Macintosh personal computers. Later it shifted towards
a digital hub strategy which was initiated by the debut of the iPod in 2001, followed by the
iPhone in 2007, then the iPad in 2010. This diversified the company from making computers to
producing lot many other digital products.
The ‘common thread’ for all the Apple’s products/services was the company’s innovation and
unique designs which differentiated Apple products/services from other competitors and gave
the company competitive advantage over other companies.
The following PLC diagram shows the diversification of Apple’s products so far and their stages
in the diagram.

Q1.     Update the case to date.

After announcing the Ipad in Jan 2010, on April 3, 2010, the iPad was launched in the US and sold more
than 300,000 units on that day and reaching 500,000 by the end of the first week. In May of the same
year, Apple's market cap exceeded that of competitor Microsoft for the first time since 1989
On June 7, 2010 the iPhone 4 was announced, which Apple says is its "'biggest leap we've taken" since
the original iPhone alongside, On September 1, 2010, alongside the release of the new line of iPod
devices for the year, Apple released a completely redesigned Apple TV. The new device is 1/4 the size,
runs quieter, and replaces the need for a hard drive with media streaming from any iTunes library on the
network along with 8 GB of flash memory to cache media downloaded. Apple also reduced the price of
the device to $99.

In October 2010, Apple shares hit an all-time high, eclipsing $300. Additionally, on October 20, Apple
updated their MacBook Air laptop, iLife suite of applications, and unveiled Mac OS X Lion, the latest
installment in their Mac OS X operating system.
On January 17, 2011, Jobs announced in an internal Apple memo that he would take another medical
leave of absence, for an indefinite period, to allow him to focus on his health. Chief operating officer Tim
Cook took up Jobs' day-to-day operations at Apple, although Jobs would still remain "involved in major
strategic decisions for the company." Apple became the most valuable consumer-facing brand in the
In June 2011, Steve Jobs surprisingly took the stage and unveiled iCloud. iCloud is an online storage and
syncing service for music, photos, files and software which replaced MobileMe, Apple's previous
attempt at content syncing.
It has been argued that Apple has achieved such efficiency in its supply chain that the company
operates as a monopsony (one buyer, many sellers), in that it can dictate terms to its suppliers.
Briefly in July 2011, due to the debt-ceiling crisis, Apple's financial reserves were greater than those of
the US Government
On August 24, 2011, Jobs resigned his position as CEO of Apple. He was replaced by Tim Cook and Jobs
became Apple's chairman. Prior to this, Apple did not have a chairman and instead had two co-lead
directors, Andrea Jung and Arthur D. Levinson, who continued with those titles until Levinson became
Chairman of the Board in November
On October 4, 2011, Apple announced the iPhone 4S, which includes an improved camera with 1080p
video recording, a dual core A5 chip capable of 7 times faster graphics than the A4, an "intelligent
software assistant" named Siri, and cloud-sourced data with iCloud
One day later, on October 5, 2011, Apple announced that Jobs had died, marking the end of an era for
Apple Inc.

On October 4, 2011, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, which was released in the United States, Canada,
Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan on October 14, 2011, with other countries set to
follow later in the year. This was the first iPhone model to feature the Apple A5 chip, as well as the first
offered on the Sprint network (joining AT&T and Verizon Wireless as the United States carriers offering
iPhone models). The iPhone 4S was priced at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB version, and
$399 for the new 64GB version, all with a two-year contract. The prices for unlocked iPhone 4S are $649
for 16GB model, $749 for 32GB, and $849 for 64GB.
On October 29, 2011, Apple purchased C3 Technologies, a mapping company, for $240 million. C3 is the
third mapping company Apple has purchased so far.
By the end of 2011, a number of smartphone vendors will have placed some very big bets on their latest
Research In Motion just released a new slate of BlackBerry devices which it will push aggressively to
businesses and consumers. And Microsoft – hand in hand with Nokia and some other hardware
manufacturers – will begin to make a second large drive for its Windows Phone platform. A wide variety
of manufacturers – including HTC and Samsung – will also continue to produce a few handsets loaded
with Google Android.

Based on data, some Android manufacturers such as Samsung will continue to gain and hold market
share, while RIM and Nokia will likely struggle to find their footing. As with everything in the fast-moving
world of tech, though, unforeseen events could shift the mobile market in a whole new direction
On January 10, 2012, Apple acquired Anobit, an Israeli hardware company that developed and supplies a
proprietary memory signal processing technology that improves the performance of flash-memory used
in iPhones and iPads for $390 million.
On January 19, 2012, Apple's Phil Schiller introduced iBooks Textbooks for iOS and iBook Author for Mac
OS X in New York. This was the first major announcement by Apple since the passing of Steve Jobs, who
stated in his biography that he wanted to reinvent the textbook and education.
The 3rd generation iPad was announced on March 7, 2012. It includes a Retina display, a new CPU, a five
megapixel camera, and 1080p video recording.
APPLE decided to part with some of the $100 billion or so of cash that lines its coffers. On March 19th
2012 the tech behemoth announced plans to start paying a quarterly dividend—its first since 1995—and
to buy back billions of dollars of its shares. Beginning sometime in July, Apple will cough up the first of
its quarterly dividends, which are set at $2.65 a share

Q3.     How did Apple position itself initially in 1976, 1981 and thereafter? Did apple have KSF
for the P.C. industry when it started? Does apple have it now? What is Apple`s competitive
position today? Trace changes in competitive positioning in previous years (Major Changes)

Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Woznaik on April’s Fool Day. The Company ‘Apple
Computer’ positioned itself as an easy to use computer making company following the release of Apple-
II in the market. Apple was positioned as an industry leader selling more than 100,000 Apple-II by the
end of 1980

The positioning of the company changed drastically in 1981 when IBM entered the PC market. It lost
most of its market share to IBM PC’s which emerged as the new standards for the industry. Its income
fell 62% between 1981 and 1984.

Apple has taken a major leadership position in the PC, portable music and tablet market. It has been
providing a complete solution for the consumers and thus it has created a position for itself that makes
it nearly impossible for other companies to compete head on.
Current Apple's successful position results not only from its operating system, applications environment,
and user interface, with its ability to simply manage a person's digital assets, but also from Apple's direct
role in providing content for the user: music, movies, and applications for dedicated mobile devices such
as the iPhone and iPod touch, and New generation I pads.

Major changes in positioning

Mac in 2001 came with real advantage for consumers who were becoming entrenched in digital lifestyle.
It was the preferred ‘hub’ to control, integrate and add value to digital devices. It continued to commit
to the education market while its new products focused of home lifestyle.
The shift towards the hub strategy was coupled with the debut of IPod in 2001, followed by IPhone in
2007, then I Pad in 2010. The product lines led apple on a path towards positioning itself as a ‘full-
fledged’ digital convergence company. The positioning was rightly reflected in the decision to change
the company’s name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc. in 2007.

Key Success factors

In 1980’s

Technology related key success factors

       Scientific research expertize: Apple devoted 9% of sales to research and development

Manufacturing related key success factors

       Apple in 1980’s, as compared to its competitors, offered its customers a complete desktop
        solution, including hardware, software and peripherals that allowed them to plug and play.
        Apple also stood out for typically designing its products from scratch, using unique chips, drives
        and monitors.

Other key success factors

      Favorable reputation and image with buyers. Apple’s Macintosh had a favorable image that
       allowed Apple to sell it at a premium price.
      Access to financial capital, By 1990 Apple had $ 1 billion in cash and was one of the most
       profitable PC industry in the world


Apple has numerous strengths that make it a successful and competitive company.

Technology Related KSF’s

       Apple fosters a research intensive office environment and is constantly releasing products with
       the current trends and styles as seen through its latest iPod and IPad.
      Apple is one of the biggest innovators in the computer and portable music industries, being first
       to bring new and creative ideas to the market.
      Its operating system is developed in house, leaving it free from the tangles of the dominant
       Microsoft operating systems. This gives apple a very large degree of control over its product in
       the physical appearance, specifications, and overall usability.
      Apple’s Innovation and expertise software products including itunes and Apple App store which
       were key factors behind success of its products.

Marketing related KSF’s

      Merchandising skills: the products developed by Apple have ‘halo effect’ especially the Ipod and
       it is believed that merchandising and add on products available in the market makes the
       customer spend more for the product.
      Clever Advertisements: Through its multimillion dollar marketing campaigns such as the
       successful ‘Think Different’ add and recent advertisement of IPhone ‘If you don’t have and
       IPhone, You don’t have and IPhone’

       Distribution related KSF’s
      The company has its own retail outlets. The first retail outlet was opened in Mclean, Virginia, in
       2001. It has more than 280 stores in 10 countries. The Apple’s retail strategy is a huge success.

Other KSF’s

      Favorable image and reputation in the market: The Company enjoys a premium position with a
       reputation of a firm which continuously changes the market trend with new innovative and
       revolutionary products.

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