Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Inc. formally known as Apple Computer, Inc. in 1977. Apple is a multinational corporation that creates consumer electronics, personal computers, computer software, and commercial servers, and is a digital distributor of media content. They are most known for the innovative iPhone, iPod, and iMac lines of consumer electronics and a more variety of products, services, software, networking solutions, third-party digital content and applications.
More of Apple’s products and services include iPad, Mini iPad, MacBook, Apple Tv, iCloud, iOS and OS X operating systems, consumer and professional software applications, and a range of service and support options. Thru the Apple Store, they sell and deliver digital content and apps through very successful sub-stores, iTunes, Mac App, iBookstore and App. These stores are not only selling their products but the support experience with another person to help troubleshoot any problems consumers are having with their Apple products, rather than having to deal with the traditional 24/7 online or phone support.
This is what makes Apple so successful to date. Apple’s mission statement as follows: “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.” When looking at Apple, we can see that there is a lot that they do well. For strengths, arguably the largest one would be their brand recognition. This recognition along side with their cool factor that gives them a very loyal customer base.
Customers need to feel a certain way when they pick up an Apple product, when they enter an Apple store, or when they visit the Apple website. Steve Jobs has recognized that a brand is more than just a logo and that is precisely why so many of us are Apple ambassadors today including myself. Another strength for Apple would be their productive development or R&D. Constantly staying ahead of the game as far as progressing their products and opening new markets. As of this year they are increasing their spending for R&D from 2% of revenue to 3%.
These increases were primarily due to an increase in headcount and related expenses to support expanded R&D activities. This is critical to the future growth of the company and to remain competitive in this marketplace. Once a product is released it is already old when it come to technical terms, someone is already developing a product that is more enhanced then the last one. Like any company, Apple also has its weaknesses.
Since the passing of Steve Jobs, and the takeover of Tim Cook, many people argue that the company is not doing as well. The launch events do not have as much buzz on the media and consumers as they did before and the wow factor has diminished. Singapore-based designer Max Yam believes with Jobs’ passing, the beauty of combining art and technology has been lost. Tim Cook needs to step up his game and be more involved in these types of decisions and not seem so vulnerable to the tech industry.
Another weakness is over the years Apple is not as shareholder friendly, often not paying dividends and also having stocks that fluctuate a lot. Since the stock price keeps going down, there must be something wrong between the shareholders’ view of Apple and what the CEO is projecting. There needs to be a change to attract more shareholders and keep the ones that Apple already has. If Apple starts returning more cash, it would further boost investor sentiment and increase Apple shares, which were about 35 percent low from their peak valuation.
Tim Cook has already improved and is becoming more shareholder friendly despite his recent attack from David Einhorn, who owns more than 1.3 million Apple shares. Apple seems to always be improving and taking advantage of their opportunities. Moving into new markets would be ideal with newer innovative products or improving current products. A product that is expected to be launched a year from now is the iWatch. Apple is very excited to reach out to this market nad have a busy fall.
There is rumor of an Apple iTV with the highest definition and 3D capabilities. Another product that has been rumored is the mobile-based payment system, Apple is more than capable of competing with the others that share that market. With this opportunity Apple can stay competitive, fresh, and give us Apple ambassadors loyal. Another opportunity that Apple has is to get rid of or minimizing outsourcing and manufacture more in the states rather than Asia.
This would greatly help their image and stimulate our economy. Tim Cook has stated that he would like to move forward and relocate a manufacture to the states but it would be on a very small scale. Given Apples high profile in the market insourcing could influence other companies at the same scale to do the same and gaining consumer’s faith in Apples motives.
As for threats, this comes from all over given Apples size and success. One of the biggest threats would be Google products like Android vs. iPhone, Chrome vs. Safari, Chromebooks vs. Macbooks. I have never seen a Chromebook before but according to the Web it is on the rise. Google has the innovation that makes a company successful and with this growing completion in the market they are neck and neck with all the products that both of them produce.
Bottom line Apple needs to have the strongest brands and products. A strong brand is a companies most defensible asset any company has. Another threat that Apple has are all the legal issues that go along with a giant corporation. It is a huge mess and it seems that they are always in the news about something whether it be who owns the rights to products, labor issues in China, shareholders and the list can go on.
Currently, Apple is under fire from a non- profit concerning the labor conditions in China. There has been an increase in suicides physically at the factories due to the extreme overtime required and the poor working conditions. This could result in many lawsuits and very bad publicity that can ultimately affect consumer loyalty. Apple has the drive and motivation to continue to produce product that are in high demand and have the cool factor that Apple ambassadors are hungry for. With every new product there will be a demand. I have personally been on a waiting list for a product that has not even hit the market yet.
This keeps the consumers loyal to Apple and their fantastic product line. With all the new technological advances in the market Apple is on the right track by increasing their R&D spending by 1%. This will keep them in the competition with all of the other competitors. Additionally, Apple needs to be more involved with what is happening in China with all the labor issues. I realize that they outsource to other companies based overseas but there is some influence Apple has to not have slave like conditions and need to implement some standard among those companies for the people.
References – Apple