The History of Apple, Inc.

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Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak formed Apple Computer in 1976. Under Jobs’ charismatic leadership, Apple Computer experienced six years of rapid growth before it encountered decline, which was followed by a period of changes in leadership, organization structure, and strategy. The resignation of A.C. Markkula and the designation of John Sculley as the CEO in 1983 were the first of several changes that would ultimately transform the Apple organization. Apple before Sculley

From 1976-1983, Apple was a small to moderate-sized corporation that was driven by one primary goal, “one person – one computer.” Jobs’ strategic focus was on effectiveness and differentiation – creating innovative, easy-to-use products for the masses. In other words, Apple used the prospector strategy –taking risks and seeking new opportunities in a dynamic environment. With fierce competition in the business market, Apple’s strategy became one of focused differentiation that targeted home and education markets.

As a young, innovative company, the organization structure was organic and characterized by low formalization, high specialization, and a short, decentralized hierarchy of authority. The culture comprised of competing product divisions and a visionary leader who managed all daily business operations. The external environment was unstable and uncertain, as competition was fierce and consumer demand was growing. To remain responsive in an uncertain environment and to retain in-depth expertise, Apple was a hybrid divisional organization, with five product divisions, four product support divisions, and three corporate administrative divisions.

During this period of rapid growth, Apple transitioned very quickly from the entrepreneurial stage to the collectivity stage. Though Jobs was a charismatic leader, Apple was growing too rapidly for Jobs to continue managing daily operations while still heavily involved in leading the Macintosh product team. Consequently, Jobs hired Sculley...
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