Case Study on Apple

Topics: Apple Inc., IPhone, Steve Jobs Pages: 13 (3976 words) Published: January 8, 2011
HARVARD CASE STUDY a comprehensive
Review of APPLE INC
STD ID. 12541236
James Cook University Brisbane
LB5206 Competitive Strategy
Lecturer: Mr. Mark Williams

1.0 Executive Summary3
2.0 Strategies of Apple4
2.1 Product Differentiation4
2.2 Product innovation5
2.3 Product Integration6
2.4 Price Differentiation Strategy6
3.0 Corporate Structure7
3.1 The culture of the firm7
3.1.1To look ahead into the future7
4.0 Industry Analysis Using Porter’s Five Forces Model8
Table 1.112
4.1 Apple SWOT13
5.0 Competitive strategy15
6.0 My Strategy recommendations and pitfalls of my recommendations16

1.0 Executive Summary

Apple Inc, an American multinational corporation with 34-years of history is just like a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows not to mention as expected in a highly innovative company. The company’s well-renowned products are Macintosh computers, iPod, iPhone, iPad and the line of software includes the MAC OS X operating system; the iTunes, iLife and the iWork. As of August 2010 the company operates 301 retail stores in ten countries, and an online store where software and hardware can be bought or sold. Apple Inc, just like many strong culture driven organizations, reflects the characteristics of its leader “Steve Jobs” who is had his share of ups and downs yet faced all the challenges like a soldier. The company struggled in absence of Steve Jobs but was able to sustain itself contrary to what the market believed. When asked in late 1997what Jobs should do as head of Apple, Dell Inc.'s (DELL) then-CEO Michael S. Dell said at an investor conference: "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” (Burrows,Grover, and Green) Well, times changed. Less than 10 years later, BusinessWeek ranked Apple as the top performer in its 2006 BusinessWeek. Apple attributes their success to robust sales of iPod music players (32 million in 2005).They are optimistic about the economies of scope with media giants, such as Disney and Pixar. The strong concentration on aesthetic designs and a culture of differentiation has carved new stories in the success of Apple Inc.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California, USA. It was a concoction as diverse as vinegar and oil, but was simply a success. Jobs was the virtuosic salesperson and a visionary while Wozniak was the technical genius and together they two sold 50 Apple I kits to Byte Shop, CA. This was only a beginning as in late 1980’s Apple went public. In 1984, Apple released the famous Macintosh, the first computer to use the GUI (Graphical User Interface) a radical development at the time, yet sold poorly resulting in departure of Steve. Sculley, who took over as CEO in 1983 had taken some major steps to bring Apple back to the profitability, for instance, he reduced the price of Apple computers to attract the mass-market. Sculley also chose to form an alliance with the Apple’s rival IBM, but all his attempts went in vain. Then Splinder chaired as CEO, he cancelled the plan to put MAC OS on Intel chips. He reduced 16% of the Apple’s workforce to slash the cost. In 1996, Amelio took over as CEO the first thing he did was to restore the price differentiation strategy. But the company faced problems as Microsoft Windows operating system was eroding the market share. To turn this around Apple recalled Steve in 1997 and he returned the company to profitability by introducing more innovative products such as the iMac. 2001 saw the release of iTunes and iPod. In 2007 Apple launched the iPhone that took the company to the new heights when all other were getting severely hit by recession, and when that was not enough, Apple launched the iPad in 2010 that took the market with complete surprise. Tablet PCs another brilliant innovation by Apple.

2.0 Strategies of Apple

We can describe Apple’s strategy as...

References: 1. Kotler Phillips, 2009, “Marketing Management 11th edition – A South Asian Perspective”, Pearson Education, New Delhi, viewed on 29th December 2010.
2. Kotler Phillips, “The ten deadly marketing sins”, viewed on 25th December 2010.
3. Hamel. J, Prahalad. C.K, 1996, “Competing for the Future”, Harvard Business School, Boston
4. O.C. Ferrel, Hartline D. Micheal, “Marketing Strategy – 4th edition”, viewed on 25th December 2010.
5. Enderle Rob, “Apple’s competitive advantage”,, viewed on 26th December 2010 <>
6. Bajarin Ben, “Apple’s Competitive Advantage”, viewed on 1st January 2011 <>
7., viewed on 30th December 2010, <>.
8., viewed on 29th December 2010, <>
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