Characteristics of Business Leadership: Steven Jobs, Apple Computer Co.

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Steven Jobs was one of the founders of Apple Computer. Apple Computer's initial strategy was to target specific sub-segments of the market that the company's management believed could be best served by the company. Apple Computer focused on these sub-segments, addressed the needs of these users, and developed a loyal following for the company's products (Fortune, 2011). The senior executives at Apple Computer, led by Jobs, reinforced a customer focus within the company. This customer focus was largely responsible for the success of the company's initial strategy. This customer focus was, as stated above, largely responsible for the success of the company's initial strategy. It was, however, a customer focus with a difference. Apple Computer, especially Jobs, believed that the company's products and its business strategy was superior to those of its competitors, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s refused to compromise on these positions. This approach created a powerful customer loyalty among a rapidly declining share of the market. Apple Computer's message to the customer appeared to be "do it our way or do without Apple Computer." This approach started the process of moving Apple Computer from the position of a dominant player in the computer market to a near boutique status (Adam Lashinsky, 2011). Steven Jobs, after participating in the highly successful launching of Apple Computer, lacked the flexibility to effectively deal with a changing external environment. One result was that Apple Computer lost its advantages to IBM. A second result was that Jobs was forced out of the company he helped to found (Philip Elmer-DeWitt, 2011).

Apple Chair Steven Jobs viewed the company's strategic problems within the contexts of new product development and introductions. He believed then the answers to the company's problems lay in the introduction of products with greater capabilities to meet the changing demands of the market. A creative genius, Jobs was...
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