What, Historically, Have Been Apple's Competitive Advantages?

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What, historically, have been Apple's competitive advantages? Apple since its inception was driven by mission to bring easy-to-use computers to market. But during Sculley years (1985-1993), Apple targeted low cost computer and forge an alliance with IBM for OS development on Intel platform, both of which didn’t bear any results. Spindler‘s (‘93-‘96) strategy to expand to international market gave short-term results, but did not help Apple in long term. Amelio (‘96-’97) decided to go back to premium price differentiation strategy and invited Steve Jobs to take over as CEO in 1997. Steve jobs restructured company around the original strategy of Apple and turn that into a competitive advantage. Apple’s competitive advantages are its control of software and hardware, marketing, digital asset management, retail strategy, product differentiation and Steve Jobs’s strategical decisions. Decisions such as switching to Intel processor resulted not only reduced power use & design ease but also made Macs able to run windows on it. Apple retails concept implements direct selling, creates first hand experience to customers, customer education, after sales service etc. With these advantages Apple built a barrier to five forces that shapes industry competition [1]. Analyze the PC industry. Are the dynamics favorable or problematic for Apple? Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore predicted that the performance and capacity of an integrated circuit would double approximately every two years. Technology in PC industry became cheaper and affordable over time. Company’s Growth was driven by low price but revenue growth didn’t match with volume growth. This led to decrease in R&D spending. Hence almost all PC suppliers used cost differentiations as their strategy and sell to volume. The consumers are also very cost conscious and need value for money. It can be seen as market dynamics that is problematic for Apple. But on the other hand it can be seen as favorable to Apple in a way that...
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