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It has been said that “three apples changed the world: the one that Eve ate, the one that fell on Newton’s head, and the one that Steve built.” Founded in 1976, making net revenue of over two hundred billion dollars this past year, the company known as Apple certainly has revolutionized the process of strategic thinking and decision making. Not only has the company experienced impressive success over the years, but there are not really any other companies that are in that close of competition with it. What types of strategies has Apple employed that have ultimately aided it the company’s great success?
From the inception of the company, Apple’s chief strategic approach has been a broad differentiation strategy because they have always, “sought to differentiate their products and services from that of rivals in ways that have appealed to a broad spectrum of buyers” (Thompson 2016). Apple indeed provides a wide array of products such as hardware, iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, iPods, iTunes, Apple Watches, Apple TV’s, and numerous apps to boot. The company can certainly provide something for everyone and they have built an incredibly strong relationship with their more-than-loyal customers. It is dizzying thinking about the pace at which Apple is able to spit out their products and their new upgrades. The company surely knows how to keep people sitting on the edge of their seats in full anticipation, wondering what the next upgraded product will be like. A large degree of Apple’s success has to do with its leaders and employees who have skill sets full of unconstrained innovation and fearless product pioneering. “Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes successful innovation will be dependent on simple human-centric design and doing things differently, rather than better” (Gardiner 2016). Indeed, this human-centric focus as Wozniak so eloquently states is evident throughout all of Apple’s products as they all focus on the person, their needs, and their ever-changing technological demands.
One of the very first Apple products started out as a simple circuit board with a wooden case. Now Apple products have rapidly evolved into much more impressive products such as the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch. Over the years, Apple has evolved to now be one of America’s top corporate leaders. “As a market leader, the Apple brand had deliberately evolved and grown into one with far broader appeal that matched the strategic changes the company undertook—in everything from product development to retail strategy” (Taylor 2013). When put to the three-part winning strategy test, Apple proves that it has been a good fit for the companies situation both externally, internally, and assuredly dynamically as well. You could say that Apple sets the pace in their industry and it would appear that their competitors are desperately striving to keep up with them. As co-founder Steve Wozniak said in regards to the market, “so we took a risk, we didn't know it was really going to be successful. But change is key. Understanding the market is important—being the market is even better” (Gardiner 2016). Thus it is this type of mindset that proves that Apple has maintained a sustainable competitive advantage in the technology industry. Through the years Apple has also proved its financial strength and profitability. As of 2015 Apple brand was said to be worth, “…$145.3 billion by our count, up 17% over 2014. The brand ranks on top of Forbes' list of the World's Most Valuable Brands for a fifth straight time and is worth twice as much as any other brand on the planet” (Badenhausen 2015). Not only does Apple appear to have a winning strategic planning, but the company proves to also have a winning mindset that is simply unstoppable and unbeatable! It will certainly be interesting to watch the company continue to evolve over the next several years and see if it is able to maintain its place in the market.
Badenhausen, K. (2015). Apple And Microsoft Head The World's Most Valuable Brands 2015. Forbes.Com, 5.
Gardiner, B. (2016). The Woz: Steve Jobs' lack of technical skills drove Apple's success. Cio (13284045), 1.
Taylor, D. (2013, May 17). A complete brand evolution: Apple goes from David to Goliath. Central Penn Business Journal. p. 15.
Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., & Strickland, A.J. (2016) Crafting and executing Strategy. The quest for competitive advantage.( Twentieth edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill