Apple Inc. in 2010
What, historically, have been Apple’s competitive advantages? Apple has had various competitive advantages since its origin until the present. Firstly, Apple’s innovation has always been its hallmark. Beginning with the first “Apple I” till the “iPad 2”, Apple products have change the development of the market many times, specially during the last decade, with the first iPod’s lunch. Although Apple’s single technologies have not been walkthroughs created by the company itself, it has developed the characteristics of these technologies and combined them in a way that had never been done before. One of Apple’s main ways to innovate is through the ease of use of its products, another of its big competitive advantages. Apple’s products are popularly considered as very intuitive and, although MP3 players already existed in 2001 or multi-touch surfaces in 2007, products like the iPod and iPhone allow the use of these technologies and devices in a very practical way with an almost vertical learning curve. Besides this ease-to-use, Apple has “plug & play” oriented designs: devices ready to be used with a series of peripherals without requiring prior knowledge. This has led Mac computers to be “digital hubs” of the new digital devices. Moreover, Apple has always had a proprietary design. Apple has never licensed any of its products or designs (except during Spindler’s management). This means that it has always had a wide control over its value chain, from the designs from scratch of their computers, till the software and its marketing or sales. It has a widely vertical integrated business and nowadays, it is even beginning to design its own microchips. This has led to a very unique differentiation that can be hardly found in competitors’ products. That is why one of Apple’s most typical characteristics are its products’ elegant and state-of-the-art industrial designs and superior software (OS). All components of its products are perfectly...
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