Apple, Inc. in 2010 Assignment Questions 1. What are the chief elements of Apple’s overall competitive strategy? How well do the pieces fit together? Is the strategy evolving? 2. What are the key elements of Apple’s strategy in computers, personal media players, and smartphones? Have its strategies in its core businesses yielded success? Explain. 3. What does a competitive strength assessment reveal about Apple’s computer business, as compared to the leaders in the personal computer industry? Use the methodology in Table 4. to support your answer. Does it appear that the company’s competitive positions in personal media players and smartphones or stronger or weaker than its position in computers? 4. Does it make good strategic sense for Apple to be a competitor in the computer, personal media player, smartphone, and tablet computer industries? Are the value chain activities that Apple performs in computers, personal media players, tablet computers and smartphones very similar and “compatible” or are there very important differences from product to product?
Which of the four products lines---computers, tablet computers, personal media players, or smartphones---do you think is most important to Apple’s future growth and profitability? Why? 5. What is your assessment of Apple Computer’s financial performance the past three years? (Use the financial ratios in Table 4. 1 on pages 94-96 of the text as a guide in doing your financial analysis. ) 6. What recommendations would you make to allow Apple to strengthen its position in its most important markets? What steps should it take to ensure that the iPad becomes a success in the marketplace and a major contributor to the company’s overall performance?
Google’s Strategy in 2010* Assignment Questions 1. Discuss competition in the search industry. Which of the five competitive forces seem strongest? weakest? What is your assessment of overall industry attractiveness? 2. How is the search industry changing? What forces seem most likely to bring about major change to the industry within the next three to five years? 3. What are the key factors that define success in the industry? What are the key competencies, capabilities, and resources of successful search engine companies? 4. Describe Google’s customer value roposition and profit formula linked to its business model. What strategies has Google relied upon to build competitive advantage in the industry? 5. Have Google’s business model and strategy proven to be successful? Should investors be impressed with the company’s financial performance? How does the company’s financial performance compare to that of Microsoft and Yahoo? Please conduct a financial analysis to support your position—you may wish to use the financial ratios presented in the Table 4. 1 of the text as a guide in doing your financial analysis of the company. . What are the company’s key resources and competitive capabilities? What competitive liabilities and resource weaknesses does it have? What opportunities exist? What threats to its continued success are present? 7. What recommendations would you make to Google’s top-management team to sustain its competitive advantage in the search industry? How should it best capitalize on its strategic initiatives in mobile phones, cloud computing, emerging markets, and other ventures? Southwest Airlines in 2010: Culture, Values, and Operating Practices Assignment Questions . Is there anything that you find particularly impressive about Southwest Airlines? 2. What grade would you give Southwest management for the job it has done in crafting the company’s strategy? What is it that you like or dislike about the strategy? Does Southwest have a winning strategy? 3. What are the key policies, procedures, operating practices, and core values underlying Southwest’s efforts to implement and execute its low-cost/no frills strategy? 4. What are the key elements of Southwest’s culture? Is Southwest a strong culture company? Why or why not?
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What problems do you foresee that Gary Kelly has in sustaining the culture now that Herb Kelleher, the company’s spiritual leader, has departed? 5. What grade would you give Southwest management for the job it has done in implementing and executing the company’s strategy? Which of Southwest’s strategy execution approaches and operating practices do you believe have been most crucial in accounting for the success that Southwest has enjoyed in executing its strategy? Are the any policies, procedures, and operating approaches at Southwest that you disapprove of or that are not working well? 6.
What weaknesses or problems do you see at Southwest Airlines as of mid-2010? 7. Does the AirTran acquisition make good strategic sense for Southwest? 8. What strategic issues and problems do Gary Kelly and Southwest executives need to address as they proceed to close the deal with the AirTran acquisition and contemplate how best to integrate AirTran’s operations and AirTran’s employees into Southwest? 9. What recommendations would you make to Gary Kelly and Southwest executives as the company heads into 2011? Competition in Energy Drinks, Sports Drinks and Vitamin-Enhanced Beverages Assignment Questions 1.
What are the strategically relevant components of the global and U. S. beverage industry macro-environment? How do the economic characteristics of the alternative beverage segment of the industry differ from that of other beverage categories? Explain. 2. What is competition like in the alternative beverage industry? Which of the five competitive forces is strongest? Which is weakest? What competitive forces seem to have the greatest effect on industry attractiveness and the potential profitability of new entrants? 3. How is the market for energy drinks, sports drinks and vitamin-enhanced beverages changing?
What are the underlying drivers of change and how might those forces individually or collectively make the industry more or less attractive? 4. What does your strategic group map of the energy drink, sports drink, and vitamin-enhanced beverage industry look like? Which strategic groups do you think are in the best positions? The worst positions? 5. What key factors determine the success of alternative beverage producers? 6. What recommendations would you make to Coca-Cola to improve its competitiveness in the global alternative beverage industry? to PepsiCo? to Red Bull GmbH?
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