Case 4: Apple Computers
I. Executive Summary
Apple was formed by two college dropout students: Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs with the motto of “Think Differently”. Wozniak, the true technical mind behind the building process of Apple’s early computers, spent the summer of 1976 building the company’s very first computer, the Apple I.2 Meanwhile, Jobs began creating advertisements and found a buyer for the computer. The two Steves were able to build and sell fifty Apple I computers—all from within the confined space of the Jobs family’s single-car garage. This would mark the first of many successful products to come from the company.
Later that time, Wozniak and Jobs began building the Apple II with the help of a few technically-savvy friends and classmates. It was at this time that Jobs first realized his true passion for the burgeoning computer industry. To fuel this passion, Jobs consulted with retired Intel Corporation marketing manager Michael Markkula regarding the possible future of Apple Computer. During this consultation, Markkula worked with Jobs in coming up with a solid business plan and even purchased one-third of the company for $250,000.
After the success of the Apple I and Apple II, the company began work on the Apple III, which turned out to be their very first project failure. The Apple III proved to be an early sign of disagreements-to-come between the president Michael Scott and Steve Jobs. In fact, Scott laid-off 40 employees after the Apple III’s failure—without any consultation or approval from the Board of Directors. Because of his abrupt actions, Scott was demoted to vice chairman, while Jobs was promoted to chairman. Markkula, who had originally hired Scott, took over as Apple’s new CEO. Scott officially resigned from Apple in March of 1981.
In the early 1980s, Steve Wozniak left the company and Steve Jobs hired John Sculley as the President of the company. After facing many failures, Apple launched its Macintosh computers for house hold users. With improvements in the GUI, the Macintosh became a “possibility box” for companies developing similar products.14 Enhancing some features from the Lisa, the Macintosh implemented a desktop, mouse, graphical file system, icons, bit-mapped graphics, menu bar navigation, applications running inside windows, and more. The Macintosh laid the foundation for the entire computer industry. The true look and feel of personal computers today can be attributed to the early design features of the Macintosh.
The Macintosh, however, did not dominate the consumer market as the company had hoped. In mid 1980s, Steve Jobs had to leave the company because of his controversial relations with the president. At that time John Sculley rejected the offer of Microsoft‘s CEO, Bill Gates to license the Macintosh operating system to Microsoft.
After this refusal, Gates developed DOS operating system and in late 1980s, thecompetition between DOS and Macintosh decreased Apple’s sale, workforce and resignation of John Sculley. So, Apple’s current CEO planned to purchase NextStep operating system of Jobs in order to improve the Macintosh operating system. In late90s Jobs again became the CEO of the company and be started surprising relations with Microsoft by developing a Macintosh version of office software. Apple also took cost saving measures like streamlining the product line, production of printers. Under Jobs, Apple again becomes the innovator of computer market. His leadership leads the company to USBand Firewire ports, introduction of iPod and iTunes website put Apple in the digital computing age.
Apple manages its business on geographic locations. Apple’s sale is continuously growing. In the era of 2000, Apple made one bold move and that was to open retail stores in USA which somehow increased its sales. Its most impressive and fastest growing market is of iPod line of digital music players and iTunes music store website.
The three major...