Apple Inc. is one of the leading multinational corporations in America and deals with the manufacture and design of personal computers, electronics, and computer hardware and software. It has been able to establish its unique identity in the technology industry: both in computer and electronic industries. It was formerly known as the Apple Computers Incorporated until 9th January 2007 when the name was changed to Apple Inc. for the reason that the company had now diversified into the production of other items in addition to computers.
The most outstanding products that form the business core for the company are the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the MacBook Pro laptops. The company headquarters are situated in California (Cupertino) and the current CEO is Steve Jobs who is also the co-founder (Cruikshank, 2006).
Apple Computer was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak. It produced its first computer called the Apple I, which was manufactured and distributed without a keyboard and monitor. It was later incorporated in 1977 and produced its second computer, Apple II which was built to include the characteristics of a complete personal desktop computer with features such as a mouse, a keyboard and a coloured monitor.
Apple II also included additional specifications that made it more compatible to the office than other computers at the time. The specifications included eight device slots, open architecture and colour graphics. The company realised high sales volumes with the introduction of this computer (Linzmaye, 2009).
In mid 1980, the Apple III was introduced into the industry in an attempt to increase the competitive edge of the company in the computing business market against other established companies such IBM and Microsoft.
It faced limitations because Apple III became a total failure to the company because of its high prices and it was also limited in overall usability. The late 1980s saw the company going public as it offered its stock to the public through initial public offering. It turned out to be a huge success since more capital was generated surpassing any amount in the American IPO history (Bagnall, 2005).
For the next decade, Apple continuously invested in innovations and technology that was aimed at developing new products to propel their efforts of controlling the market share as well as keeping their competitive advantage alive. The company’s competitors were way ahead in the manufacture of operating systems. The going was not that easy because the product world is characterized with the product cycle. The company faced limitations just like any other firm that is trying to establish itself in the market. The limitations that Apple faced included: the lack of enough memory capacity in the hard drives of their computers, their computers were bulky and also the RAM was slow (Linzmaye, 1999).
The company reinvented its products after learning some lessons from its past failures. In 1998, Apple released a newly repackaged Macintosh computer, the iMac, which was designed under the leadership of Jonathan Ive who later designed the iPhone and the iPod. The iMac was built with the latest technological features and realised high sales volume within a short period of its release. This marked the rise of the company since from then it is ever increasing its product portfolio and acquiring new innovations and diversifying its production areas such as the consumer-oriented and professional software development. The iMac line of computers that were built to run on Mac OS X brought back Apple to profitability in the industry and the invention of the iPod propelled the company to greater heights in business.
The company is also known for products and stores such as the Apple stores for downloading various application software, iTune stores for music downloads, iLife suite for digital iPhotos and iMovies. The company transited into producing Intel-based computer chips whereby micro chips were installed into MacBook Pro and iMac computers. From 2007 to date, the company ventured into the mobile consumer electronic market which has seen the development of sophisticated phones that have registered phenomenal success such as the iPhone and iPad and multimedia gadgets such as the iPod NaNo and the iPod Touch (Estrin, 2009).
Leadership in Apple
Leadership is the driving force of any organization and for an organization to run efficiently, it requires excellent management skills. Steve Jobs is perhaps the most responsible person for the fortunes of apple. He has been there since its formative stages to the present and the mention of Apple or Steve jobs makes reference to the other. To summarize this argument: ‘Apple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple’. He has been able to achieve a track record that can not be rivalled. He strategic decisions have enabled Apple to reach where it is today (Reeves, 2003).
Leadership at the formative stages
The leadership team at the formative Apple was characterized with the desire to innovate and discover new products. This was attained through the use of employing individuals with passion and hiring individuals who were ready to make the best out of the world. They also had visionary leadership that was characterized by perfectionism, quick adaptability to the changing environment and developing skills that kept them in line with the competitive world (Reeves, 2003)
Nothing much has changed since Steve jobs has been at every executive level and the company was able to continue shining even during the times that he was out. The current leadership team is characterized by skills in all fields, from marketing to research and development. The leaders are also motivational and are geared at attaining the objectives of the company’s business (Deschamps, 2005). The company employs different leaders at the different processes of innovation. They specialise in getting the market ready and the management ensures that there is strong willingness among all stakeholders to work together to achieve the company’s aims.
Challenges at Apple
It is not always an easy task to replace a leader. The most serious challenge at Apple is replacing the CEO who has been an icon and a driving force to the company. He means everything to Apple and is currently faced with health challenges. Investors are likely to be worried and this is a serious matter to the company’s shares and future. The computer products have also not been performing lately (Cruikshank, 2006).
Recommendations to Apple
The company seems to lack a succession plan. It is true that Steve Jobs will not stay forever at Apple and therefore this matter needs to be approached with a lot of urgency and it will also help in retaining customers loyalty to the company. The second matter requires innovation in creating computer products which will be blockbusters in the industry. This will also show that the company is able to come up with new products in future. According to a research carried by the IDC, Apple is currently ranked fourth in the United States PC share. This shows that sales have dropped and the company needs to react accordingly (Estrin, 2009).
Apple has been able to refine its product portfolio in the consumer electronics and the computer industry through its leadership and innovation. The company has also revolutionized the designing and manufacture of Mac computers and consumer-oriented electronics to meet the aesthetic appeal and also the integration of the company’s products to be environmentally friendly during their manufacture and when shipping out. Apple’s competitive edge has enabled it to be among the top companies in the industry through diversification of its product line (Reeves, 2003).
Finally, the company needs to see that it addresses the current challenges which are likely to bring problems in future. There needs to be a successive plan in order to oversee the replacement of the iconic CEO, Steve Jobs. The team that is charged with innovation should also project future needs to keep up with the ever changing world. The sky is the limit for apple provided all things are done to plan and using the right tools.
Bagnall, B. (2005). On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Apple.
Variant Press. pp. 109–112.
Cruikshank J., L. (2006). The Apple way. New York: McGraw Hill
Deschamps, J. P. (2005). Different leadership skills for different innovation strategies.
Strategy and leadership journal (10) 5
Estrin J. (2009). Closing the innovation gap: reigniting the spark of creativity in a global
economy. New York: McGraw Hill
Linzmayer, Ronald W. (1999). Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer,
Inc. No Starch Press. http://extras.denverpost.com/books/chap0411h.htm.
Reeves E. (2003). Leadership for socially responsible organizations. Leadership and
organizational development journal. Vol. 13, no. 2, p.97 retrieved from http//:www.proquest.umi.com
👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!
Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.get help with your assignment