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Strategic management: Apple

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  1. Introduction.
  2. History of Apple.
  3. Steve Jobs: Apple's revival.
  4. Apple's core competencies.
  5. Apple today.
  6. Conclusion.

Apple was created by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the Jobs family garage, California. They launched the Apple II in 1977, their first big success: the computer which has created the personal computing market. Then in 1980, the firm was introduced to the stock exchange. The Macintosh was presented to the world during the final of the super bowl in 1984 through TV advertising which is considered as one of the most famous TV spots in the world. Directed by Ridley Scott, the scene depicted IBM's world broken by a new machine, the Macintosh. In 1981 IBM made its first PC and in 1985, Microsoft launched Windows, the graphic interface for IBM PC, which used numerous elements of Mac OS. This led to a long judicial battle between Apple and Microsoft. The result of the judgment allowed Microsoft to copy elements of the graphic interface of Macintosh. It is then that, by studying the system of the IBM PC, many firms were able to make Compatible IBM PC. Despite the first version of Windows being technologically inferior to Macintosh, a clone PC could be sold cheaper.

[...] That's certainly one of the most important core competencies of the firm (we can see it with the success of the iPod, mainly based on its design). - Image and Marketing: By creating the apple stores, high places of promotion of the brand and created with a design concept allying technological accents and sobriety, the apple shops create tendency and contribute to the identity of the brand. Furthermore, they daily attract numerous customers, of whom a majority are users of Windows who are not aware that an alternative is possible. [...]


[...] And we're always trying to do better? Steve Jobs is more than a manager in Apple. According to Sir Harvey Jones (1988) who says that for a good management and leadership, a leader is better than a manager, Steve Jobs support its decisions and strategy by using its popularity: he has been elected one of the seventeenth ?people who mattered in 2004? in the traditional special edition of the Time (http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2004/people/14.html). Steve Jobs has humility too: ?Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. [...]


[...] Steve Jobs did a clear strategic change: return to the basics. He tried to use historical apple's core competencies to renew the image of its brand. As Prahalad and Hamel (1990) said, ?core competencies are the collective learning in the organisation, especially how to coordinate diverse production skills and integrate multiple streams of technology?. Apple's core competencies are: - User-friendly personal computers: from the beginning, Apple tried to produce computers which are really easy to use, that is why they used their technical knowledge to help people: the mouse, the copy- paste and of course it's OS which is often considered superior to Windows. [...]


[...] - MacOS 8 is going to allow Steve Jobs to close definitively the doors of Macintosh in clones. Licenses concerned effectively only systems 7.x. By reappointing system 7.7 in he obliges firms to reinvest in the purchase of licenses. Most of the clone companies stopped their activity due to the enormous price proposed by Jobs. He estimated that the builders of clone such as Power Computing have divided the privileged market by Apple, there where most of the margins traditionally were. [...]


[...] The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Doubleday - Jean-Claude Sohm (CERIG / EFPG) (22 mai 1998) http://cerig.efpg.inpg.fr/Note/1998/Apple_22-5-98.html - Tichy, N (1983) Managing Strategic Change, Wiley, New York, pp18-19 - Time special end of year edition http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2004/people/14.html. - Wikipedia Encyclopedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer) - Wrapp, H. E. (1984). "Good Managers Don't Make Policy Decisions.? Harvard Business Review 8-21. [...]

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