A. APPLE INC.
A firm’s business strategy reflects its leaders. Under Steve Jobs, Apple differentiated itself through elegantly simple design. This piece explores Apple’s business strategy in the first full year of Tim Cook’s leadership.
Already, we can see Tim Cook is changing Apple. In contrast to Jobs’ rare appearance before the press and analysts, Cook took the opportunity to discuss Apple’s business strategy at the recent Goldman Sachs’ Technology Conference. When questioned about the future of the iPhone, Apple’s largest revenue stream, Cook underscored that smartphones only represent 9% of the global handset market and even within smartphones, 3 out of 4 customers bought something other than Apple.
Apple manufacturing partners and practices have also come into the spotlight following the unprecedented disclosure of their supply chain partner audit combined with the hiring of a third party employment practices review agency. Most recently, Apple invitedABC Nightline into their primary supplier Foxconn. In increasing increments, Cook is making Apple more accessible.
In the past, his operational expertise has been a perfect counter to Jobs’ legendary product instincts and will serve Apple this year. What we won’t learn in 2012 is whether Cook can plant the seeds for a new platform in the years beyond. It’s a no-brainer to assume Apple Labs is cooking away. There just won’t be much evidence in 2012.
What we can expect is that Apple will continue to get paid for the integrated value they deliver. Apple products initially cost more than most competitors. They win by tightly integrating hardware and software for a superior user experience. Many would argue Apple’s integration provides a lower aggregate cost as well.
2012 will be dominated by the following four themes, all targeted at cementing users and developers into Apple’s lush, walled garden of peerless user experience:
1. Scaling all operations... [continues]
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