Apple's Difficulties over Time

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In a word, the most serious and the most obvious problem to Apple is its weakness in its proprietary designs compared with IBM-compatible PCs. Specifically, Apple designs all the products that can only be used in Mac that other producers cannot clone. Moreover, many applications designed by other producers cannot run under Mac OS. That is a fatal problem to the company and thus cause Apple can only occupy a little market share in PC industry. The reason why although Apple has superior products, it still faces difficulties over time is that during every period, it didn’t offer the proper solution to the problem. 1. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak: 4.1.1976-April, 1985

Apple Computer was founded on April 1st, 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. After they built Apple 1 and sold 200 copies of it in several months, they attracted Markkula as their partner. They three worked as a team in which Markkula was the experienced businessman, Wozniak was the technical genius and Jobs was the visionary.1 Jobs’s goal was to build an easy-to-use computer to market and it was achieved with the launch of Apple 2. Actually, before 80s, Apple got superior success in PC market. But, in 1981, IBM entered the PC market and this was a big threaten to Apple. Although the IBM PCs’ OS and CPU were not as good as those of Apple 2, they still could made Apple’s market share dropped sharply because the IBM PC was a relatively open system that other producers could clone it. Since more and more producers began to focus on producing PCs with IBM’s technology, Apple’s market share would undoubtfully decrease. As a result, although customers might still prefer purchasing Apple computer because of its better hardware and software (for that Apple’s revenue kept increasing), Apple faced a serious limitation in occupying market share. January 24th, 1984, Macintosh was launched. Macintosh was built around the Motorola 68000 chip, which was not compatible. Though it was easier to use and had superior industrial design and technical elegance, because its speed of processing was slow and lacked compatible software,2 less customers were willing to buy it. Then Apple’s net income dropped a lot between 1983 and 1984. So Apple’s board hired Sculley to replace Jobs as it’s CEO. 2. Sculley: 1985-1993

Sculley’s goal was ensure Apple get the leadership in education and desktop publishing. Meanwhile, he also tried to make Apple become an International brand. Apple’s superior self-designed software technologies and peripherals made it succeed in desktop publishing as well as in education. This also meant that Apple could provide customers a complete desktop solution while IBM-compatible PC users had to add hardware, software or peripherals themselves. This gave Apple the incentive and chance to sell its computers at premium-price. Then when IBM-compatible prices went down, the high charge of Macs made them overpriced. Consequently, because of its lack of compatible ability and its extremely high price, consumers were less willing to buy Mac. What’s more, the cost structure of Apple was high. Compare with Compaq and other IBM-clone manufactures, Apple devoted much more to R&D. After realizing all these factors, Sculley, then CEO and CTO of Apple company, made great effort to pull Apple back to the leader position in PC market through providing proper products and prices, which means, the prices of Macs would be lower and the computers would be more suitable for customers according to their need. 1991, Apple and IBM formed joint ventures, Taligent and Kaleida, hoping to create a new OS and multimedia applications. Then Apple agreed to use IBM’s new PowerPC chip instead of previous the Motorola microprocessor line. And meanwhile, IBM agreed Motorola to use its technology to ensure that Apple has a second source in case. Meanwhile, Apple began to corporate with Novell and Intel. Codenamed Star Trek in effort to make the Mac OS to run on Intel chips. During his period, Sculley...
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