Apple Computer Case Study

1283 words - 5 pages

Apple Computers is perhaps the one computer company with the most interesting story line ever. Most people wouldn't associate a simple computer company with a long and dramatic tale filled with ups and downs however Apple's story is just that. The first major computer company to hit the personal computing market, one would think that Apple would be a more common and familiar name than Microsoft is today in the computing world. However, this is clearly not the case. Apple's story is filled with many advantages that, for one reason or another, failed to capture the hearts and minds of the populace. This left Apple as a second place contender, under IBM.Apple was known for its revolutionary products as the company became known to more and more people and businesses. What started out literally in a garage in California became one of the leading producers of computers in the world. Apple enjoyed many competitive advantages throughout its existence, but it failed to capitalize to the fullest extent possible with most of them. One of Apple's first competitive advantages it enjoyed was GUI's - graphical user interfaces. Along with the GUI's, Apple also introduced a "mouse" for use with the GUI's, coining the term "point and click". At the time, it was a very foreign thing to everyone. People were so used to typing in archaic strings of alphanumeric characters in order to run programs and such. Yet the simplicity and genius of the GUI-mouse duo would soon prompt others to "borrow" this technology and use it for their own software. While Apple invented GUI's and the mouse, Microsoft made it famous with its operating system Windows 3.0. Apple also had a competitive advantage with research and development. The company tried to routinely come out with new products every twelve months so as to keep an edge over IBM. Apple invested 5% of sales into R&D through the 1980's and 1990's. Other leading manufacturers of that time period reduced their investments in R&D to around 1%. Again, the problem arose that Apple failed to capitalize on its new developments. One of these developments was the Newton, a first generation Personal Digital Assistant. Apple was clearly on to something big there, but their attempt at it came very short of reaching its goal. The Newtown proved notoriously unreliable for what it was designed to do, and Apple lost the PDA market to 3com's PalmPilot. Apple was able to capitalize on its key competitive advantage - graphics and desktop publishing. Apple was able to get into the education market and gain a very substantial portion of it. The reason for this is because Apple's computers gave the best functionality in early word processor programs and in learning software. As well as that, Apple also had superior peripheral products, such as printers, keyboards and monitors. All those factors combined to present a very enticing computer package to educational institutions.The structure of the personal computing industry has changed...

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