Conclusions and Recommendations
Apple is a strong market contender with a diversified product line within the computer and electronic gadget market. Apple's products and services are clearly differentiated from those of its competitors. The company is economically in a good position and can expect to have growing stream of revenue and an increase in its share of the market every year for the near future
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One of Apple's main strengths lies in its extensive brand equity. The company has a strong advertising and branding program which has been greatly successful in helping the company develop its strong brand image.
Another source of strength for Apple is its technological advantage over its competitors. The company spends a lot more on research and development activities than its competitors do. Apple has also benefitted greatly from the strong leadership of CEO Steve Jobs who has been at the head of the company since its very beginning.
A further factor which creates a competitive advantage for Apple is the fact that its products have acquired a fashionable and trendy image. Apple is not only perceived as a leader in technological achievement but is also considered to be an arbiter of aesthetic values and its products are the leading edge of style and aesthetical design.
One of the unique characteristics of Apple Inc. is its reduced reliance on suppliers as compared to its competitors. The company manufactures all or most of the parts of its hardware and most of the software is developed in-house.
As a result of stronger branding and customer loyalty, Apple is able to charge more for its products than its competitors do for similar products and still maintain its market share.
One of the side-effects of Apple being a market leader in terms of technological innovation is that Apple’s products are frequently rushed out into the market without extensive testing which results in the first versions of Apple products being bug ridden which often leads to product recalls.
Another source of considerable problems for Apple is the extensive amount of litigation the company has been involved in both as a plaintiff and as a defender. A number of legal cases involving Apple are currently pending.
A great opportunity for Apple comes in the form of the increasing demand for ‘Smartphones’ with such capabilities as internet access and multimedia recording and playback etc. The iPhone is an attempt by Apple to seize this opportunity.
The high level of competition among technology companies means that Apple is constantly under threat from its competitors. This threat is especially great within the market for personal computers.
Another threat to Apple is from some of the suppliers to whom the supply of materials and the manufacture of some components have been outsourced. The threat can take the form of poor quality output from these suppliers.
Political factors influencing Apple include the increased taxes in the current era which force consumers to restrict their spending. The recent economic downturn has also contributed to a drop in sales. Social factors affecting Apple include its image as the producer stylish and fashionable products. Technological factors include need to have multiple features in one product. Environmental factors influencing the company include the need for emissions control in the manufacture of electronic products. Legal factors affecting the company include the large number of cases the company is involved in seeking to limit infringement of its copyright. The company has also been the subject of copyright litigation and other litigation in various countries which has resulted in limitations being placed on the various products and services the company offers.
Apple’s major resources include effective leadership, its reputation in the market as a leader in technology and style, its research work and technological expertise and its skilled and dedicated workforce and competent management.
Recommendations to Improve Apple’s Standing in the Market
In order to improve its standing in the market, Apple needs to improve product testing prior to launch. This should however, not come at the expense of Apple’s technological leadership. Apple needs to come up with speeded up testing methodologies which would enable thorough testing and early launches, both at the same time. Apple needs to maintain its technological leadership and its trendy image in order to remain competitive in the high technology products market. Apple may also need to reduce its litigation activities in order to prevent being established as a litigation happy company.
Avenues for Further Research
There are many avenues for further studies into Apple’s business available to researchers. Further studies could be done to determine whether there are significant differences between Apple’s strategy in the United States and its strategy in the rest of the world, to compare Apple’s business strategy to that of its main competitors, to compare the performance of Apple and its affiliates in various countries and to determine the reasons for any differences in performance. In addition research can be undertaken to study Apple’s performance and strategy in each of the international markets the company operates in.
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