Apple Inc. initially started as ‘Apple Computers’ and was mainly known as a computer company with its devices known as ‘Macintosh’. With a few years down the road, it was transformed into a ‘mobile devices company’ and major contribution in this regard was by non-other than Steve Jobs. He revolutionized many industries and paved a way for a more technology-oriented future at Apple. Background:The recently deceased CEO of Apple Steve Jobs was considered to be the most influential and innovative person in the technology industry for the past decade or so. It was assumed that after his demise Apple as a company would fail to be at its best and would lose way in this battle of technology giants which includes Google, Samsung, HTC, just to name a few. But recent products and market share has proven otherwise that Tim Cook is doing a fine enough job and it is more of an image or brand which is what Apple is and as long as their product line shows consistency, consumers will buy them no matter who is in charge. The tool that will be used for writing this case will be based on SWOT analysis. Starting with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and finally threats. A concept known as ‘blue ocean strategy’ will also be implemented and defined how it played a role in the success of Apple and making it what it is today.
It starts by taking a look at all the angles of a company and then working on those angles to perfect any issues that appear during ‘evaluation’ phase. Strengths:Apple being a ‘brand’ was highly successful and quickly became a status symbol for many who used to buy Apple products (Anon 2013). Marketing was its strongest point and also an area, which had to be because if they were to penetrate a global market where many individual competitors were already acting it was important for Apple to do so. Design, being a brand is not easy and Apple made sure its products were uniquely identifiable as well as easy to use, even for a first time user. Jony Ive who is the head of design at Apple is famous for his distinct product designs and quality. Factors reduced below the industry standard: These are the ones, which are not used regularly and can be put on a back burner to make room for new features. For e.g. setting a design language and focusing on improving that over the years rather than changing it every year. Bigger profit margins, this was possible due to high sale price and also the customer was loyal and was willing to pay more for Apple products.
Factors that industry has taken for granted: In Macs, Apple has removed all those features which were not used by consumers and were considered to be obsolete such as firewire ports and have added more advanced one such as thunderbolt and HDMI under its pro line of books.
Developing an ecosystem was a good thing but it had its side effects too. As alternative products were available at low costs, it was difficult to retain a new customer for a long term as sticking to the Apple ecosystem was costly. Incompatibility (Anon 2013) was partially killed in Macs when Apple switched to Intel chips but due to running its own OS and proprietary set of core applications, many high-end apps that developers or professionals used were missing and were only available on Windows OS. After Jobs demise, a few leading management executives left Apple and it was perceived as a setback for the company. Steve was ruthless in his approach but kept everyone together. Though Apple makes its own devices but the hardware used in many iPhones and iPads is purchased as raw products from Samsung, which is its biggest competitor. Opportunities:After stepping into the mobile phone industry, Apple changed the way people communicated and it ushered a new era for hand held devices. This includes applications that could be installed on a smartphone and one could use it as a ‘minicomputer’ while working on the go.
As far as an ecosystem of the company is concerned, Apple made full use of its pioneering into the smartphone business by launching an App Store which was the hub for all things mobile, which later on included the iPad. Factors raised well above the industry standard: Product designs are key to Apple’s success and have been improved significantly by adopting uni-body designs and utilizing this approach for a more firm and sturdy product. Factors which industry has never offered: Invention of an iPad is one such example where a whole new category has been created to consume media and be productive while being portable too. iPad was a revolutionized product of its own as its created a whole new industry and category for people to create and consume media, productivity or just casual use. An advantage which iPad enjoyed as being a new product was the ability to run those same apps available for an iPhone.
Further down the line, as companies are trying to penetrate different sectors of a market, Apple can do so by entering a television business as well as wristwatches (Anon 2013). Samsung and Motorola among many others have already released a few watches but with Apples engineering skills and design elements, one can argue just how well this opportunity will be for Apple to exploit and use it to their own advantage.
Competitors are catching up to Apple and Android OS is its biggest rival in smartphone/tablet business. With such rapid change in technology, it is not easy to sustain unless you keep on innovating. Android being an open source operating system has more market share and more market area covered as compared to Apple. It is cheap for a manufacturer to produce and android device than it is for Apple to bring its top class product in such markets. Size also matters for many consumers as Samsung, HTC, LG and many more have re-defined smartphone screen sizes and Apple is playing catch up in that area. In countries such as India, Malaysia, Singapore, there are many alternatives and they are low cost as they use slightly low end hardware but deliver same set of features which high end manufactures do.
As said before, Samsung controls the pricing for silicon and display provided to Apple, it puts them at an advantage and can hinder the manufacturing process for many devices. Businesses should focus less on their competitors and more on alternatives as people try to find low cost alternatives for buying products and companies should also focus on creating new customers (Anon n.d.). Conclusion:It is to be believed that Apple has taken the market by storm and others are to slow to react but with time it all changes as competitors catch up and are innovating in areas where Apple still has to step a foot in, this makes Apple and its rivals kept on their toes and are innovating day by day to progress and outperform each other. Samsung and Google dominate areas, such as wristwatches and eyewear, respectively.
Only time will tell how good and how long can one thrive and succeed in this battle of technology giants. Recommendations:For Apple to succeed it is important for them to invest in wearable as this is going to be the next big thing in the technological invention. While on the other hand, Samsung should also work on their smartphone designs as they lack class but are full of features. This takes a huge chunk out of a market, which purely buys products on design and looks such as iPhone or even more recently the HTC one series.
BIBLIOGRAPHY SWOT Analysis of Apple. (2013). Retrieved September 6, 2014, from http://www.strategicmanagementinsight.com/swot-analyses/apple-swot-analysis.html Whar is Blue Ocean Strategy? (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2014, from http://guides.wsj.com/management/strategy/what-is-blue-ocean-strategy/
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