1. COMPANY BACKGROUND & EVOLUTION
a. From the Foundation to the 20th Century.
Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc. was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak -with the headquarter located in Cupertino (California), is a multinational corporation that creates consumer electronics, personal computers, computer software, and commercial servers. But why Apple? The name Apple was chosen because, at time in IT history, the company to beat in was Atari, and –alphabetically- Apple Computer came before Atari and thus also in the phone book. They launched the first machine (Apple I), the same year -1976. Then the Apple II was presented to the public at the first West Coast Computer Faire one year later, in 1977. The “new” machine featured a completely redesigned TV interface, graphics and colours. The continuous desire for improvement and innovation, soon drove the Company to release the 3rd version of the machine (Apple III), in 1980: this version was not a complete success, rather a failure. Due to the fact that the integrated circuit chips often disconnected from the motherboard, thousands of Apple III computers were returned from customers and, even though a brand new model was introduced later in 1983, the damage was already done. Apple Computer Inc had to face another failure later on. This time it was because of “Lisa”, introduced in 1983 at a cost of US$9,995 (that today would account for $23.3 thousand) that failed to penetrate the business market. In 1985, one year after the Macintosh was released, due to internal power struggle, Jobs was stripped of all duties and had no influence over Apple's direction so he subsequently resigned. He then went on to found NeXT Inc which, with no commercial success –mainly due to its high price, introduce important concepts and features for personal computers. In 1997, when Steve Jobs was re-hired, through the Apple’s purchas of Steve Jobs' company, NeXT, NeXT technology itself became the starting point of the Mac OS X operating system. Later on, the same year, they then entered into a partnership with Microsoft -it was also announced that Internet Explorer was designated to be the default browser on the Macintosh. It was only in 2001 that Apple announced the opening of Apple retail stores in order to overcome Apple's declining share of the computer market, as well as a response to poor marketing of Apple products at third-party retail outlets.
b. Core products
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• Personal Computer –from the first Apple I launched in 1976 to the newest MacBookPro with the Retina display; • iPods –the first was launched in 2001, now the latest version features touch screen an a “mini” version; • iPhone -3, 4, 4s and the iPhone5 just released this November (1inch wider screen, Retina display and faster processor); • iPad –I, II, III (soon to be launched, also know as “the New iPad”) and Mini. c. Struggling with competitors
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For more than two decades, Apple Computer manufactured personal computers, (Apple II, Macintosh etc) but it faced rocky sales and low market share during the 1990s. In the late 1980s, Apple's technological rivals were the Amiga and Atari, but by the 1990s, computers based on the IBM PC had become more popular than all the others developing a comparable GUI (thanks to Windows 3.0), that made them out-competing Apple. Nowadays, Apple’s top 3 hardware competitors could be identified in Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. It also has to compete with Microsoft in many areas of personal computer software industry. As a matter of fact, in 2004, Dell was the larger manufacturer of personal computers and their greatest strength was to cut on cost due to its direct-sell approach; their just-in-time manufacturing gave them an enormous advantage over rivals in quality and production costs. The weaknesses of this competitors, can be found in its limited...
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