Cob402-Case 4-8-9-16-19-Shiyongdong-2013 01

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Case Study: Objectives and Discussion Questions

Week 5 Case 4: Dell Inc. in 2008
Help students to understand the tasks of strategic management. Provide sufficient information for students to complete a thorough SWOT analysis. Help students to develop a solid list of key success factors. [Discussion questions]

1.What is your evaluation of Michael Dell’s performance in his roles as Dell’s CEO and Chairman? How well has he performed the five tasks of crafting and executing strategy that were discussed in Chapter 2? 2.What are the elements of Dell’s strategy? Which one of the five generic competitive strategies is Dell employing? How well do the different pieces of Dell’s strategy fit together? In what ways is Dell’s strategy evolving? 3.Does Dell’s expansion into other IT products and services make good strategic sense? Why or why not? 4.Is Dell’s strategy working? What is your assessment of the financial performance that Dell’s strategy has delivered during fiscal years 2000-2008? Use the financial ratios presented in Table 4.1 of Chapter 4 (pages 142-144) as a basis for doing your calculations and drawing conclusions about Dell’s performance. 5.What does a SWOT analysis reveal about the attractiveness of Dell’s situation in 2008? 6.Which company is competitively stronger—Dell or Hewlett-Packard? Use the weighted competitive strength assessment methodology shown in Table 4.4 of Chapter 4 to support your answer. 7.In what respects, if any, is Hewlett-Packard’s strategy in PCs more appealing or better than Dell’s strategy? 8.What issues and problems does Michael Dell need to address? 9.What actions and strategy changes would you recommend to Michael Dell to boost the company’s performance and its prospects for overtaking HP in global sales of PCs?

Week 6 Case 8 Apple, Inc. in 2010
Understand the challenges associated with building organizational capabilities able to serve as the basis for developing a competitive advantage. Perform a thorough financial analysis of a company and understand the contribution of different product lines to a company’s success. Build students’ presentation skill.

[Discussion questions]
1. What are the chief elements of Apple’s overall competitive strategy? How well do the pieces fit together? Is the strategy evolving? 2. What are the key elements of Apple’s strategy in computers, personal media players, and smartphones? Have its strategies in its core businesses yielded success? Explain. 3. What does a competitive strength assessment reveal about Apple’s computer business, as compared to the leaders in the personal computer industry? Use the methodology in Table 4.4 to support your answer. Does it appear that the company’s competitive positions in personal media players and smartphones or stronger or weaker than its position in computers? 4. Does it make good strategic sense for Apple to be a competitor in the computer, personal media player, smartphone, and tablet computer industries? Are the value chain activities that Apple performs in computers, personal media players, tablet computers and smartphones very similar and “compatible” or are there very important differences from product to product? 5. Which of the four products lines---computers, tablet computers, personal media players, or smartphones--do you think is most important to Apple’s future growth and profitability? Why? 6. What is your assessment of Apple Computer’s financial performance the past three years? (Use the financial ratios in Table 4.1 on pages 142-144 of the text as a guide in doing your financial analysis.) 7. What recommendations would you make to allow Apple to strengthen its position in its most important markets? What steps should it take to ensure that the iPad becomes a success in the marketplace and a major contributor to the company’s overall performance?

Week 10 Case 9 Google’s Strategy in 2010
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