Apple How a Company Comes Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

The Apple II computer was successfully launched and the company began to take shape and in 1980 the company went public and was able to produce more money than any company since Ford in 1956 (Thirty years of apple). When the company went public it also created more millionaires than had ever been created up to that point (Thirty years of apple).

There were several other computers that were released prior to 1984 when the Macintosh computer was released. By 1986 Wozniak left the company and in 1983 Steve Jobs had been ousted from the company (Thirty years of apple).

Charismatic leader of Apple Computer

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is known as one of the most charismatic and successful CEO's in the world. It has been asserted that "While Wozniak was the technical brains, Jobs was the idealist. He wanted his computers to be both technically and visually beautiful - and he was convinced that Apple could provide software and hardware without involving anyone else (Thirty years of apple)."

Although Jobs let the company in 1985, he returned to the company in 1996 with many new ideas that have proven to be beneficial for the company. These ideas are directly responsible for the company's comeback after experiencing such a significant decline. The products that Jobs is responsible for producing include the iMac, the iPod, the iPod nano, iTunes and now the iPhone.

Analysis

How Steve Jobs influences Apple Computer (founding-leaving-return)

Steve Jobs appears to play an instrumental role in Apple form the very beginning. Much of the research pertaining to Steve Jobs asserts that he was always dedicated to the innovation of new products. Not only did he want the products to work well form a technological standpoint but he also wanted the products to be well designed. The research insist that this was always the case with Jobs, even to the point of making significant mistakes that cost the company and caused his ousting in 1985. According to an article entitled "Steve Jobs- the Silicon Valley Pioneer"

In September 1997, Steve Jobs was appointed the 'interim CEO' of leading information technology (it) company, Apple Computers (Apple), by the Apple board. Considering the fact that the company's board itself had ousted Steve in a coup in 1983, this development was watched with interest by media and industry observers. Steve's comeback was being seen as Apple's desperate attempt to survive one of its worst phases: losses for 1997 amounted to $1.6 billion ("Steve Jobs- the Silicon Valley Pioneer")

It is clear that when Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 he became the primary decision maker. It seems that by this time the company was somewhat desperate to regain some part of the market share and to compete with other companies in the industry. At this point Jobs had to make critical decisions regarding the types of products that would be pursued and the need to pump new life and ideas into the company.

According to one article, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple he told company officials that the problem with the company was the product offerings. The article explains that Jobs went on to say that the company was in so much financial trouble because the products "sucked" ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom"). He also states that the products were no longer sexy and the whole approach to the product line needed to be altered ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom").

Indeed, Jobs felt that the product line was the primary problem with the company and the reason for the company being in financial ruin ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom"). It seems that the problem with the products could be found in the company's inability or unwillingness to push the envelope or to focus on innovation. This problem was serious and Jobs and other executives were painfully aware of the stakes involved. Apple being a public company made the situation even more critical because the company wanted to ensure that they could regain the competitive advantage and attract new investors.

As far as Steve Jobs was concerned the development of superior products that would be attractive consumers would require a certain set of management skills.

As such Jobs tried to focus the company on the goals that needed to be met. In addition he had a great deal of faith in the strategy that he wanted to implement throughout the company ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom").

Indeed, for many years Jobs basically restructured Apple with a more proprietary approach, and he ignored the negative feedback coming for Wall Street Analysts ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom"). In addition the article points out that one of his first strategies was to eliminate a great deal of Apple's product line ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom"). He did this by taking away several products and only focusing on four.

The former Apple Chairman has since revealed that Jobs move to reduce the product line down to four sent shock waves throughout the company. The article also asserts that "Time and again since, Apple has eschewed calls to boost market share by making lower-end products or expanding into adjacent markets where the company wouldn't be the leader."I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do," Jobs often says ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom")."

This type of straight forwardness and charisma was what the company needed at that particular time. In addition, the company was in no position to not listen to Jobs; perhaps the company being in such financial turmoil is what actually saved the company from an impending demise. That is, if the company had not been so desperate to recover from the shape that is was in, it would not have listened to Jobs and would not be enjoying the success that it is enjoying at the current time.

In addition to the position that the company was in Steve Jobs had also matured and although he was still charismatic and driven, he had learnt how to work better with others over the years he spent away from the company that he helped to create. One article asserts that "his passion for doing, and saying, just about anything to help create the kinds of products that consumers love. In the nine years since Jobs returned to Apple, his unique modus operandi has sparked broad changes in the world of music, movies, and technology ("Steve Jobs Magic Kingdom")."

It seems that the problem facing Apple at the time could not have been handled better. Although Jobs approach was unconventional it appears to have been exactly what was needed at the time. I do not know that this particular approach would have worked at a different company that was not already familiar with Jobs leadership style. Another company may have fired Jobs before they could realize his talent and ability to develop innovative products that people have purchased in droves.

An alternative approach to the solving the situation may have been to encourage others within the company to create some new product ideas. This may have been encouraged through the offering of rewards or incentives if the product was taken into development and consequently went to market. Perhaps this would have generated more of a teamwork atmosphere for the company.

The company may have also chosen to retrain employees and get them more accustomed to an environment in which innovation would be the focal point. In addition, because Jobs pays careful attention to aesthetic design, perhaps training about aesthetic design would have been useful. Such training would teach employees what customers are looking for in the design of their technological devices.

If these alternatives were implemented perhaps products such as the Apple Ipods would have even sleeker designs because there would have more input form workers concerning the design.

The discussion was focused on how a company can recover from a decline. This is an important issue because many companies face problems as it relates to financial decline. It was believed that the research presented throughout the case study could provide some insight into what companies can do to recover if they experience a significant decline.

The research indicates that many companies struggle through financial hardships. However, of the few that recover most do not realize mammoth success. The exception to this summation can be found in Apple Computer Inc. which has come back from the brink of annihilation. The research asserts that the key to the transformation of Apple has been the leadership of Steve Jobs.

This is a unique scenario because Jobs was the cofounder of Apple which was established in 1976. He served as CEO of the company for a number of years until he was ousted in the 1980's. When the company found itself at the brink of collapse in 1997 Jobs was asked to comeback and head the company.

When Jobs came back to the company, he proceeded to lead in a very charismatic manner and…

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