Apple Inc. In 2012
What, historically, have been Apple’s competitive advantage?
Initially, Job’s motive was to offer the first easy-to –use computer to the market. He managed it and Apple Computer knew its first success in 1977 with the Apple II. It’s the first personal computer sold in a large scale, and whom use were democratized, in particular in education sector. In 1978, this two years old company had already sparked a real revolution in the computer industry. The next notable revolution came with Job’s turnaround, when he came back in the company in 1997. “Soul” of Apple, Steve Jobs, understood very early that in this fast-moving sector in which changes occur constantly and are disruptive, he will constantly have to maintain his innovation efforts at a certain level to be in the vanguard. In particular, Apple was pioneer in the digital market revolution by launching its successful non-computer products: Iphone, Ipod, Ipad. Considering those successes we can sum up historical Apple Computer’s competitive advantage in four words: innovation, revolution, visionary, and simplicity. And that’s still Apple’s key success factors.
Analyze the personal computer industry. Are the dynamics favorable or problematic for Apple? Competitive structure: The PC industry is highly concentrated. The four big, HP, Dell Acer and Lenovo represent 55% of the worldwide shipments. Moreover, competition is rude as innovations are fast moving. Then competitors are trying to develop new competitive advantages. For instance Dell has combined direct sales and build-to-order manufacturing; IBM and Lenovo, then Hp and Compaq merged together to be stronger on the market. At the same time the example of Dell, who entered the market a bit late and lost some market shares over the last years, shows how much it is important to be the first one to introduce an innovation and this is something Apple have been good at with its visionary products. Demand: Household are the dominant segment...
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