Q1. The competitive advantages of Apple are the user-friendly interface, the new design, the innovation functions, the creator of personal computer and their long history brand name. The most important is their marketing strategy.
As the creator of personal computer in the industry, Apple deliver a high quality product to market, they make loyalty to consumers, make people feel what they get more than what they paid. Although, the selling price was not lower than the other computers. Apple’s customers really “love” the products.
Attractive designs was one of the key points of Apple, they attention to details of computer, their iMac is the all-in-one design, when everyone thinks computer at least have two parts, the iMac were everything at once. It changed people’s thinking, and reforms the computer industry.
Over the year, Apple use the Intel-powered computers in their product line to increase the market share, at the same time it solve the disadvantage to choose Apple’s product is the lack of Macintosh software. From hardware to create a user-friendly interface, people can install Microsoft window applications as well. Apple didn’t stop their innovation, later on some applications create by Apple even faster than Microsoft.
The most stronger competitive advantages is the marketing strategy, Apple focus home consumers’ lifestyle, although they are not the top computers in the market, but Apple try to blend into people’s life, focus on what people needs rather than selling the functions of products. It makes consumers feel good and easy to carry, then want to try on it.
Apple setup apple store and website for consumer face-to-face try their product and order directly, the purpose for people to try not only focus on the loyalty customer, is for the other haven’t try Apple’s product before, people can do the experience of i-products. Doing so can have an advertising effect and can be used for direct selling to eliminate middleman part, control the price better.
Most successful company has their brand ambassador, Apple also have their own, it was Steve Jobs – the key and the “soul” of Apple. Every time when Apple have the announcement for the new product, Jobs will come up and host for the presentation, the CEO do the presentation makes people feel is there any special thing, Jobs become the icon for Apple, he attract people’s attention, this action makes consumers exciting Jobs briefing.
All these points are something intangible resources of Apple, of course is not the only reasons of Apple successful, but all of these cause Apple’s product are non-substitutable, valuable, rare and costly-to-imitate, other competitors are hard to do so, that’s why Jobs invest a lot of their R&D because it is the core competencies of Apple.
Q2. Here are the analyze for the personal computer industry of Apple’s dynamics favorable or problematic.
Bargaining power of Supplier: CPUs were the hardware of PC, the functions like human brain for the process, it is master of a PC. In the Microprocessors and Operating system filed Intel and Microsoft are leading the market, the PCs in the market almost use the Intel CPU and the Microsoft application, in order to pander to the market. Apple shift to Intel CPUs in 2006, from now on Apple’s laptop can use Microsoft application. Due to no other CPUs can competed with Intel at this time, the bargaining power of supplier are strong.
Bargaining power of buyers: Nowadays PC is the needs in daily life, the largest group consumers are home consumers, concern about the design, mobility and wireless, but the outlay or the feature almost the same. But Apple’s Macintosh was different, it is a “Digital Hub” it is a digital cameras, portable music players and digital camcorders, brings people into a digital lifestyle, this idea must PC get away from a machine, it can be more fun. And then Apple introduce a new OS, it keep update every 12 to 18 months, it is greater frequency than other PC vendors. As mentioned, the bargaining power of buyers is low.
Entrants: In PC market, the brand name are really important, the buying likelihood maybe force to the big brand. New comers may not have a high market share because office and existing customers may have a loyalty and think of the maintence issue.
Apple as a leader in the personal computer, it has invest a huge amount and resources for develop the Mac and the OS system, other PC vendors cannot compare with Apple and the products are so different from the traditional PCs, is not a short can be imitate. So the entry barriers are high.
Threat of substitute products: At this moment, there is no substitute products of Mac, Mac is a general tools, multifunctional machine people may threat other machine rather Mac or PC.
Intensity of Rivalry among competitors: Slow industry growth and the commoditization makes a price-competition in PCs, but Mac come out brings a new experience to consumers, design, features, after sell service more high level, no longer stay in the hardware competition.
Steve Jobs always bring new ideas to the world, so people will look forward to Apple, the loyalty were building up. Thus, Apple has a high intensity of rivalry.
In summary, Apple Mac is unique and different from the existing personal computer, Apple’s successful based on the differentiation strategy and innovation.
Q3.PC is one of important symbol in digital age. It changes our daily life and working style. Apple is the original innovator. Apple Computer has professional impressions on creative multimedia field. It also has very good user interface to interact with human. Last time, IBM and Microsoft group together to product lower cost PC to gain the PC share market. In 2000, Apple creates their PC as digital hub. This idea has revolutionary change in PC market and changed the PC eco system.
The iTunes software is a soul of digital hub idea. This is the first program to buy a song from legal way in digital format in the world. There are many publishers to publish their songs and movies from iTunes software. All of the new portable products such as iPhone, iPad and iPod are using iTunes as a agent to transfer data such as songs, movies, photos and backup data between PC and portable devices.
Apple makes their PC to compatible with IBM PC by working with Microsoft to provide the capability to use software such as Microsoft Office. Also, they co-operate with Intel to tailor made CPU for making high performance and more energy efficient PC to draw customers’ attention and as market focus point on this product.
In order to show their differentiation, they launch a facetime (video conferencing) program in their PC. This program can easy connect with their portable devices to have facetime seamlessly. This is very difficult to replicate from other competitors. I believe thatApple’s competitive position issustainable and still as industry leader.
In MP3 player industry, Apple also does a mission that this product can purchase songs and videos online legally. iPod (Apple’s MP3 player) not also can play songs, it also can play videos and games. It becomes a multimedia player in portable size. There is strategy effect comes up with purchasing songs and videos from iPod can play on different Mac devices such as Macbook and iPhone. Customers feel that they get premium value on purchasing single song from itunes. I believe thatApple’s competitive position issustainable and still as industry leader.
Q4. Nowadays, smartphone is one of important devices for metropolis people. The role of smartphone is not as simple as before to make a phone call only. It has a lot of add on feature and ancillary apps to support the smartphone system. In this rapidly changing environment, company wants to keep making profits is a strategic plan to survive even as anindustry leader to drive the game. We try to Base on VRIO framework to assess Apple’s competitive position in smartphone industry.
Apple is an IT company with different kinds of products. Its valuableresource and capability is superior brand name and innovation products. Apple’s products are symbol of high end technology and user friendly, also their products always see as arts. Loyalty customers always support and buy Apple’s products. Of course, Apple’s products always come with excellent feature and powerful performance can draw the customers attention no matter they are Apple fans or not. Also, their products can make their customers’ life easily even getting better result on working. These are mostvaluableresourcesandcapabilities of Apple Company.
In IT industry, Apple always launches the innovation products. They always have a role of leader and pioneer in IT industry. The strong and elegantstrengthen glass as smartphone surface and come up with thin and unibody shape of smartphone. That is a amazing product. Additionally, the display unit of apple smartphone has high resolution (Retina display). It makes wonderful look and feel. The customers feel that this smartphone is worth to get it with extra dollars amount. At the back end, there has a great after sales service support team to support the product. Their staffs have wide knowledge to answer customers’ questions. The excellent smartphone and coming with strong support service is rare in smartphone industry.
This is not difficult to understand their smartphone system will beimitated easily. It is because apple’s smartphone is coming with inimitability ecosystem and bundle a lot of usage Apps, competitors are very difficult to imitate their system. First of all, Apps store is one and one official place to buy iphone apps. Only iphone can be used Apps store to buy apps, other smartphone cannot use it. Secondly, itunes is the first place that we can buy and download legal songs website and system in the world. It can interact with iphone easily. Most of publishers use this platform the launch their new songs and movies. On the other hand, if they followers without iphone, they cannot get the new songs and movies ASAP. Therefore, this is one of the inducements to attract customers to buy an iphone. This ecosystem is very difficult to imitate from other competitors.
From the resource-basedview, Apple also takes very high priority on research and development. They know that if they want to draw customers’ attention, they must bring the innovative products to the market and customer. They always carry the new trend and design to the market.We can see that the strengthen glass on smartphone, unibody design on smartphone and high-resolution display unit (retina display).
In conclusion, Apple still possesses high competitive position in smartphone industry. However, they must keep launching innovation products to keep the leadership position in this rapidly changing industry.
Q5.iPad is a innovation product in the IT industry. It carries useful and high-end technology dissolve into our daily life. It makes our life easily no matter on studying, working and entertaining. It will keep stable growth rate in feather.
In order to maintain the premium brand image, Apple will not compete and focus on product price with competitors. At the mean time, iPad can delivery a premium value to customers. You can see that Apple is one and only one company to use the very high definition display unit (Retina display) on tablet product (iPad) in the industry. It can delivery outstanding look and feel to customers. Also, they focus on the whole product collaboration and take care the customers experience on using their product.
In order to take care of customers on using iPad, they have excellent after sale service support team to support customers on using their product. They hope that their customers can fully utilize on their products with wonderful comment. They will share their professional technical skills when you have any enquiries on iPad. On the order hand to attract potential customers, they will open shops in famous shop mall with very grand look and feel to draw their potential customers attention. In their shops, the product expert is standby to teach and show their products are how easy to use and how powerful on feature and performance. From users point of view, this product is not easy to substitute with similar tablet product because there are huge valuable bundle package and service behind the products.
Except the excellent hardware, Apple also provides huge number of ancillary software (Apps) to support the iPad. We can see that one of the fantastic features is Facetime (Video conferencing). Before Facetime launch to market, we keep using the webcam on computer with third party software with low video resolution and poor sound quality to perform video conferencing or web chat. After Facetime launched on iPad, iPhone and Mac machine, we can perform video conferencing from handy device without to concert the hardware, software and audience compatible issues. This benefit is coming from unibody design (software, hardware and system are designed from single company). It is very difficult to replicate similar model from other company.
Let’s talk more on Apps. When we had purchased Apps (software can be used on mobile device) from Apps Store, most of Apps can also be used in iPhone. Customers feel that I can get the premium value from that because they paid once for software can execute on more that one device. Also, iPad can share information by using Apple iCloud service. This is a huge storage in the Internet. You can get what you done on your Mac Laptop synchronously such as photos, schedule and documents. Synergy effect is appeared when customers are using Apple’s products.
In conclusion, iPad is a sustainable product in Apple Company even in IT industry.