Apple Innovation

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An economic crisis can be a crucible that forges new innovations in business operations or they can lead companies to make dumb mistakes that destroy them as they rush blindly to survive. We’re beginning to see corporations move into one camp or the other as the economic downturn gets worse and worse but one company one company stands out for forging ahead on innovation: Apple Computers. Apple’s innovation in their new product introduction leads the way and shows how product innovation can deliver superior economic return to a company and its shareholder. Apple Computers Inc. was co-founded by Steve Woznaik and Steve Jobs (known as the “two Steves”). Both of them shared a common idea of assembling a machine and subsequently selling it. In 1976, they introduced the world the first PC and they called it Apple I. A California-based local computer store, Byte Shop got interested in the machine and gave Jobs and Woznaik an order of 50 computers each at $500 on delivery. While the parts were ordered from Cramer electronics, an electronics parts distributor, Jobs and Woznaik worked days and nights to assemble the parts. This is how Apple I came into being. Apple I had a sound design, a philosophy that Apple still maintains today. Apple I had a monitor, unlike any other computers of that age, and it used a bootstrap code on the Read Only Memory (ROM) to speed the computer startup. In addition the machine also had a cassette interface for storing and saving programs. Eventually, two hundred Apple Is were built. With the profits earned from the sales of Apple I, Wozinaik conceived an upgraded model, the Apple II. It was notably different from Apple I. They were: (a) a completely redesigned TV interface, which in addition to text, also displayed graphics, and colors; (b) much improved case and keyboard. Steve Jobs was looking for finance to help built such a computer. Eventually, Jobs managed a loan of $250,000 and Apple computer, Inc was formally founded in April 1976. Apple II was released in 1977 was credited with the creation of the home computer market. Millions of Apple II was sold till 1980s. When the company went public in 1980, it made more money than any IPOs, since Ford Motor Company in 1956. By the 1980s, Apple started facing competition in the PC business. Its chief competitor was IBM, which through its cheaper version was capturing a chunk of the emerging desktop PC market. Apple III was subsequently introduced to the corporate desktop market, dominated by IBM. Apple III was a market failure. Although it sold even at a very high price yet most of the models had to be recalled and replaced. The reason for this was that the machines got overheated due to the omission of the cooling fan13. An improved version was released in 1983; the initial bad experience discouraged buyers and left the Apple III was largely a market failure. During the same time, Apple started to do pioneering work in building a PC with Graphical user Interface (GUI), computer mouse, object-oriented programming and network capabilities. Jobs’s previous exposure to the Xerox Laboratory made him acknowledge that there is a future for such technologies and he started to support such research. Subsequently, the Lisa and the Macintosh teams were formed. Lisa was debuted in 1980 at $10,000. It was acknowledged to be a product ahead of its time. But the price of Lisa did not help Apple to have a strong foothold in the market. It was discontinued in 1986. Apple Computers, despite being credited with pioneering the PC revolution by introducing products ahead of its time never really succeeded in dominating the market. The computer industry got de-verticalized from late 1980 and early 1990 (with Windows from Microsoft and processors from Intel) making PCs an affordable commodity with Open standards. Apple rejected this trend and continued to promote its Mac OS, and their proprietary and closed architecture. Both Bill Gates (Chairman of Microsoft) and Andy Grove...
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