Strategic Planning at Apple, Inc.

Topics: Steve Jobs, Apple Inc., Personal computer Pages: 7 (1780 words) Published: June 7, 2006
Apple Computer, Inc. whose humble beginnings were borne from two high school friends, Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs, is now based in Cupertino California and is a Fortune 500 company. The company began in 1976 when Wozniak designed what would become the Apple l (Apple Computer, 2005).

Apple Computer, Inc.'s principle activity is to design, manufacture and market personal computers and related personal computing and communicating solutions. The products are for education, creative, consumer, and business customers. The personal computing products are desktop and notebook personal computers, related devices and peripherals, networking and connectivity products and third party hardware products. The principle software products include operating system software, application software, Internet software, integration and services. Today, computers are still a very important part of the Apple Company, but music-related products are at the top of Apple's list.

The company scored a hit with its digital music players (iPod) and online music store (iTunes). Other products include servers (Xserve), wireless networking equipment (Airport) and publishing and multimedia software. Apple's personal computing products accounted for 79% of the fiscal revenues in 2002 and the software and services accounted for the other 21% (Apple Financial, 2006).

Strategic planning involves making decisions about an organization's long-term goals and strategies. These plans have strong external orientations and cover major portions of the organization. Senior executives are responsible for the development and execution of the strategic plan even though they usually do not formulate or implement the entire plan (Bateman, 2004). Successful companies have been diligent in the planning of the organization's long-term goals and strategies and have targeted results needed for long-term survival, value, and growth. Apple Computer's beginning years were mostly reactive to the fast-paced and rapidly changing computer industry; however, they have re-invented themselves time and time again to remain highly competitive in this market. This essay will discuss the strategic planning of Apple Computer, Inc., relevant to its strategic planning and influences affecting its planning. The essay will elaborate on Apple's mission, vision, and goals, will give a SWOT analysis, and will also elaborate on strategy implementation and strategy control.

Influences Affecting Strategic Planning

The factors that influence strategic planning at Apple are numerous. Apple chose differentiation as their strategy. This decision means that Apple could benefit from several strategies such as growth, product development, innovation and marketing. Apple's product differentiation is a natural strategy that creates growth because of distinctive products. Apple has proven its ability to develop new products, such as the very popular iPod and Apple music store.

Today, Apple is one of few organizations able to make money in the personal computer business. The recent downturn in this market has affected Apple's strategic approach. CEO Steve Jobs suggested that today must be about the future of technology and "turning out more new products..." (Speaking, 2003, para. 1)

Another factor influencing Apple's strategic planning is market share. Jobs suggest that there are three markets categories; professional, educational, and consumer. He feels that the professional and educational markets have suffered recently yet they have also doubled the consumer market share, which stands between 5% percent and 10% (Mossberg, 2003).

Rivalry also influences strategic planning at Apple Computer. Apple competes in the personal computer markets with huge rivals such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Dell. These are heavyweight competitors because of their well-known brands and reputations. Beyond product differentiation, Apple is currently piloting with new distribution channels by opening stores and...

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