Apple’s tangible resources are extensive and widely documented despite the company’s high level of security in matters of design. The value of analysing the tangible assets of the organisation lies in the determination of the potential for the creation of competitive advantage (Grant 2007). In terms of financial resources, the case quotes Apple’s market capitalisation is approximately US $550 billion, with sales annually over $100 billion. This makes Apple the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. The share price currently stands at around $600, merely 12 years after Steve Jobs’ return to the company, where the share price was $5. Apple’s physical resources include 362 retail stores world wide, which promote sales and effective advertising. Third party manufacturing relationships are also a key aspect of Apple’s success allowing for relatively inexpensive manufacturing while all design aspects stay in-house (Masi 2009). The systems in development, design and software systems are all key aspects of Apple’s organisational and technological resources, and are closely linked to the organisation’s intangible resources due to their close correlation with knowledge and managerial capabilities.
Apple’s overwhelming and unprecedented success in the technology industry undoubtedly stems from its intangible resources. The influence that co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs had on the company is undeniably accountable for its achievements. As an entrepreneur and human resource to Apple, Jobs’ managerial capabilities and innovative ideas were invaluable. The retail stores of Apple also provide intangible resources in the interaction with customers, aesthetically appealing design of the stores and technological support provided on site in the ‘genius bar’ (Jarboe 2011). The reputation of Apple and the unique creation of customers ‘needing’ the newest design in the latest release of products is an intangible resource vital to the organisation’s success; they have captured exactly what the consumer wants. Apple develops and integrates its own hardware and software, and along with the creation of the App store, has created a self-sufficient technological process from start to finish. Consequently, the brand name Apple evokes a whole new facet of technology in today’s society.
The capabilities of Apple lie in the integration of tasks that combine all aspects of their company, from research and development to product development to marketing and advertising. The entrepreneurial skills and capabilities of Steve Jobs and the design team at Apple in developing products that consumers ‘need’, is a capability for the company. Retail Apple stores act not only as a mechanism for sales, but also as a product themselves, as they are invaluable marketing for the brand. The Internet based sales also offers customers to create combinations of their own products, which could be built and shipped with efficiency and quality guarantee. Apple creates products that are simple in design, yet so focused on the specifics that customer’s inherently deem them as ‘cool’. Apple also maintains an air of suspense and mystery upon the unveiling of their products, which captures the consumer’s curiosity on a huge scale, an unusual tactic in a society concerned with collaboration and transparency. The use of a platform strategy to create a family of products that will all stream from each other and make use of design elements for derivative products, i.e. the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The creation of products that, despite ever changing and evolving in technological progress, maintain a clear look and use for consumers is a capability for Apple. Capability
Costly to imitate
Competitive Consequence Design team
References: Grant, R 2007, Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 6th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex.
Jarboe, K 2011, Apple 's hidden intangible asset, Available from: . [29 September 2012].
Masi, B 2009, Strategic Analysis of Apple Inc., Available from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/24134877/Strategic-Analysis-of-Apple-Inc-Brian-Masi. [30 September 2012].
Hollis, N 2011, The Secret to Apple 's Marketing Genius (Hint: It 's Not Marketing), Available from: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/the-secret-to-apples-marketing-genius-hint-its-not-marketing/241724/. [1 October 2012].
Apple and Procurement, 2012, Available from: http://www.apple.com/procurement/. [1 October 2012].
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