Apple Case Study

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Abstract

Apple Inc. (previously Apple Computer, Inc.) is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers. Apple currently has 246 retail stores located in 44 states that employs over 27,000 retail employees. Apple also employs over 304,000 U.S. individuals from development to transportations. As of September 11, 2012, Apple is the largest publicly traded company ever. Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008 and in the world in 2008, 2009, 2010 and2011. This case study will not only highlight Apple’s strengths, it will also discuss its weaknesses and past failures that have laid the foundation to become one the most powerful companies in the world.

History
As the story famously goes, “two Steves” started one of the biggest computer companies ever in a garage after quitting their day jobs. Steve Jobs worked at Atari, a computer and gaming company and Steve “Woz” Wozniak worked at Hewlett-Packard. A friend introduced the two seeing their mutual interest in electronics. Woz had built a computer in his spare time as a hobby. According to Charles Hill and Gareth Jones (2012), authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, “That is what people did in 1976,” (p. C13). Jobs realized that people might want to buy such a machine and persuaded Woz to set up a company to make and market it. Headquarters: Jobs’ garage in California. Thus Apple Computers was born. A total of 200 units were sold at a price of $666 each; the product rolled out on April Fool’s Day in 1976 at a local electronics store. The company went on to see great successes and some failures, and the two Steves are heralded as revolutionizing the personal computer industry. After improving on the garage computer, named Apple I, with better graphics, more data storage and a simpler looking machine, Apple introduced the Apple II in 1977. This personal computer that was user friendly to non-computer using consumers soon made the two twenty somethings into millionaires. Throughout the years, subsequent models that improved on the speed and design of the Apple II were released. With these improvements came additional products: software, external drives and printers, to name a few. By 1983, the Apple IIe was introduced, which would become Apple’s most popular and best-selling of all models. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Apple computers became computing standard for elementary schools. By the time the Apple II line became defunct, more than 2 million Apple IIs had been sold and home computers were gaining popularity. Apple Computers also changed its name simply to Apple to reflect its diversity of products. During this general timeframe, Woz was piloting a plane that stalled and crashed; he suffered some memory loss. He returned to Apple sporadically throughout the ensuing years but formally ended his full-time association with the company in 1987. Two new engineers were brought on board for two new project ideas: Jeff Raskin for the Macintosh computer model and Bill Atkinson for the more business-oriented Lisa computer. The Macintosh became a success; the Lisa did not. In 1991 Apple continued to build on its founders’ guiding principle—that the individual, not the mainframe, should be at the center of the computing universe (“Silicon Valley,” 2012). The company introduced a portable Mac, which was the predecessor of the modern laptop. In 1993 it launched the Newton, a personal digital assistant which let consumers compute without sitting at a desk. The end of the 1990s brought yet another breakthrough Apple computer—the iMac, which touted power, ease of use and esthetics. The iPod, a digital music player and the iPhone, a phone with Internet...
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