Apple Inc. is an American Multinational Organization engaged in the manufacturing, marketing, and sales of personal computers, cell phones, music players, software, networking solutions, and computer accessories. It was established in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne as a simple computer manufacturer with a former name of Apple Computers Inc. With the passage of time, it enhanced the range of its product offerings and the size of its business operations to all the attractive markets of the world. The company has seen various rises and falls in its history, but made a remarkable success in the leadership of its founding CEO, Steve Jobs. Its revolutionary iPhone has successfully hit the World markets by bringing unique and astonishing features for its consumers. Since its inception, Apple has been on a continuous growth strategy for its operations. Now Apple operates with its fully functioning retail stores, online stores, and private distribution channels around the Globe (Apple). Due to its highly competitive product offerings, strong brand image, and exceptional financial performance, Apple Inc. is regarded as one of the most successful organizations of the present times.
The Mission and Vision Statement of Apple Inc.:
The mission of Apple Inc. is to manufacture the highest quality products for all its target customers. The highly advanced Mac systems are designed to meet the personal computer needs of students and business professionals while iPhone, iPad, software and internet solutions, and other innovative products and services are offered for a wide range of customers all over the world. Through these products and service offerings, Apple aims to fulfill the electronics and technological needs of consumers of the 21st Century. The Vision of Apple Inc. is to become and maintain its position as the most competitive organization in the world's Electronics and Information Technology industry. It wants to ensure operational excellence with each passing year; and at the same time, keeping the key stakeholders satisfied with its financial performance (Apple).
Apple CEO -- Tim Cook:
Tim Cook joined Apple after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011. The death of the Founding CEO was being considered as the biggest misfortune for Apple as all the successes were attributed to the efforts of Steve Jobs. Cook joined the company in these severe circumstances and successfully managed to keep the same level of growth and competitiveness of the company among its competitors. Formerly, Cook has served the company as a Chief Operating Officer for all its Global sales and operational activities. Cook was also the Head of Apple's Macintosh Division where he was responsible for managing long-term supplier relationships (Apple).
The professional career of Tim Cook consists of his services at some renowned multinational corporations; including Compaq, IBM, and Intelligent Electronics. Throughout his career, Cook has got experience in diverse areas of business operations; like manufacturing, supply chain management, reselling, customer services, etc. Academically, Cook is an MBA from Duke University and an Industrial Engineer from Auburn University. He believes that Steve Jobs was a great CEO, but he wants to lead Apple in his own style and pace (Apple).
SWOT Analysis of Apple Inc.:
The strengths and weaknesses are the part of internal environment whereas opportunities and threats make the external environment of a company (Ferrell & Hartline, 120). The SWOT Analysis of Apple is helpful for its Management, investors, and key stakeholders in making different business and investment decisions.
The biggest strength of Apple is its competitive product line; iPhone, iPad, Macintosh System, and iTunes are still the market leaders in innovative features, design, and reliability. Apple is considered as the most successful and competitive organization in the world's electronics and Information Technology industry. It has a strong brand image among its customers, supply chain members, investors, and the community it serves. The high sales volume for top products and services contributes a great deal in increasing the company's market share and improving its financial performance. Apple gives strong emphasis on Research & Development and Total Quality Management principles which help it in manufacturing its products using the most advanced technological processes and technical innovations (Apple).
The biggest weakness in Apple's business strategies is the prices of its products which are the highest among their competitors. The heavy costs of Research & Development, technological processes, manufacturing, marketing and promotion, and distribution make it difficult for the company to charge a competitive price. Another weakness lies in the functionality of Apple products; they do not support various third-party applications and software. It restricts a large number of customers from buying Apple products.
Apple has a smaller target market than its competitors due to some non-supportive features and prices of its products. Therefore, making its products more user-friendly and supportive, and selling at a competitive price can increase the number of potential customers for Apple. Another opportunity for Apple is the international expansion in those markets where it has not reached so far. It can search for attractive markets where it can find a potential market segment to target for its products.
The biggest threat for Apple is its competitors. Apple has to compete with the existing market leaders and new entrants in all its product categories. These competitors are offering same quality products with unique features at comparatively lower prices. They are a big threat for Apple's profitability and market share. Another threat for Apple is the increasing Research and Development costs. In order to stay competitive, Apple has to expend a huge amount on implementing new technological processes and plants. It significantly increases its costs of doing business. Moreover, the economic situations of developing and under-developed countries also bring serious challenges for Apple to operate in their markets in a profitable fashion.
The Four Functions of Management:
The planning function at Apple is incorporated in line with its vision and mission statement. Each and every business decision is made by keeping in view the strategic goals of the company. For example, the company aims to provide its customers the 'Value' of their money by producing the highest quality of technological products that are innovative in their design, reliable in their usage, supportive in their functionality, and competitive among all other similar products. The company's mission to meet its customers' expectations is kept in mind while deciding budget for Research and Development, new investments in Information Technology, and implementation of advanced plant and machineries at the production units. The Management also keeps in mind the stakeholders' interests while formulating new business strategies for the company (Apple).
The Company's Management subordinates its personal interests over the interests of the organization by keeping the entire workforce directed towards the organization's long-term goals, mission, and vision statement. The Management believes that it can only overcome its weaknesses if it will get full benefits from its core competencies and strengths. The workforce at Apple is highly motivated due to an effective leadership style by the middle level managers and supervisors. Teams and workgroups are also formulated in order to accomplish the short-term and long-term targets in an efficient manner. Moreover, attractive compensation packages are offered to the Apple employees in order to keep them satisfied with their jobs.
The operations at Apple Inc. are carried out in different divisions and segments which are a proof that the functions of different departments are performed in a well-organized and systematic way. The procurement of material, R&D, production, marketing, and distribution of the products are done by keeping the organizational resources and capabilities in perspective. Apple has an effective inter-department and intra-department communication system which helps it in ensuring that its products are being produced in the most cost-efficient and effective manner.
The Board of Directors shows a deep concern towards safeguarding the interests of the shareholders. It carefully analyzes the industry patterns and the overall global and domestic business environment before making any business decisions. The threats present in the business environment are dealt with effective competitive strategies. If the Management finds any drawbacks in its current business processes, it takes an immediate corrective action to overcome it. The Management is also expending a huge amount on overcoming the weaknesses present in its operational activities; including high prices and limited potential market for its products. These corrective actions have enabled the company to bring significant improvements in every upcoming model of its products.
Apple -- Sales for the Year 2008 & 2007:
Source: IFO Apple Store. Yearly & Quarterly Financial Results. 2012
Source: IFO Apple Store. Yearly & Quarterly Financial Results. 2012
Comparison and Analysis:
The above graphs show the Sales figures (of all segments) for Apple Inc. For the year 2008…