Apple Inc.


“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world …….. are the ones that do.” 1

 – Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997 

Background

Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is a multinational corporation that creates consumer electronics, personal computers, computer software as well as communication and media devices. 2It is also a digital distributorof media content. Through its products and services, the company serves individual consumers, enterprises, educational institutions, and governments worldwide. 2

Apple is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization. With annual revenues of US$ 229 billion in 2017, it was valued at US$ 927 billion as of May 2018 .3

Apple Computer was co-founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976, in Cupertino, California. However, Wayne stayed only a short time – leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the primary co-founders of the company.

The company’s co-founder Late Steve Jobs was a famously creative entrepreneur. His dream to create a computer for the “rest of us” sparked the Personal Computer revolution. Steve’s ferocious drive and passion for perfection eventually revolutionized six industries: a) personal computers, b) animated movies, c) music, d) telephony, e) tablet computing, and f) digital publishing.

Riding upon a missionary spirit, Apple remains a global business icon. For the first quarter century of its existence, the company was predominantly a manufacturer of personal computers. These included the Apple II, the Macintosh, and the Power Mac series.

However, with the introduction of the iPod music player in 2001 and the iTunes Music Store in 2003, Apple established itself as a world leader in the consumer electronics and the media industries too. 4

Apple is presently famous for its iOS range of smartphone, media, and tablet computer products. These include the iPhone, the iPod Touch, the iPad and the Apple Watch. 

The Genesis of the Enterprise

The seeds of Apple Inc. lay in the cherished aspiration of Stephen G. Wozniak (a 26-year old bright engineer at the Hewlett Packard Company) to create his own computer. In 1976, Wozniak teamed up with his friend Steven P. Jobs (a 21-year-old college dropout living with his parents in Los Altos, California) and Ronald Wayne (an Atari engineer) in order to fulfill that dream and make the product available to the world at large.

The trio received funding from Mike Markkula, a semi-retired Intel engineer and product manager. For working capital, Jobs sold his Volkswagen minibus and Wozniak his programmable calculator. The Silicon Valley “garage start-up” legend was thus born. 

In 1976, Wozniak single-handedly invented the Apple I computer. The machine was simply a working circuit board that was sold mainly to hobbyists. However, it generated enough cash to enable Jobs and Wozniak to improve and refine their design.

In 1978, the company launched the beautiful Apple II. This was the first personal computer with colour graphics and a keyboard. This user-friendly microcomputer was designed for beginners. 

With room to store and manipulate data, the Apple II soon became a tremendous success. It was the computer of choice for legions of amateur programmers, particularly after Wozniak invented a disk controller that allowed for fast and reliable information storage and retrieval.

In 1979, the VisiCalc was introduced as a first-of-its-kind “killer” software application for the Apple II computer. It was a spreadsheet program that turned a formidable bookkeeping chore into a relatively brief data entry task. The VisiCalc vividly demonstrated the computer’s utility for small businesses. This propelled the market demand. Thus, Apple II generated over $3 million in revenue in its first year. 

By 1980, three improved versions of the personal computer had been released. Meanwhile, Apple’s sales had ballooned to $200 million. Its computers were developed from ground up. They featured a proprietary operating system as well as unique hardware. 

IN 1981, Apple launched an IPO and became a celebrated publicly traded company. By 1983, the company had entered the Fortune500 list of America’s top companies – after having grown from scratch into a $2 billion firm within the space of a decade. 5

The Turbulent Years

In 1979, Steve Jobs had led a small group of Apple engineers to a technology demonstration at the Xerox Corporation’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The idea was to explore how the graphical user interface (GUI) could facilitate the better use of computers by ordinary people. 6

An internal group at Apple was then created and tasked with refining and exploiting the PARC ideas towards building an “insanely great” computer. It was named as the Macintosh.

The “Mac” was launched in 1984, in conjunction with a famous Super Bowl advertisement that was inspired by George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four. It was the first personal computer to be applauded for its unique industrial design as well as ease of use. 

However, curiosity and intuition had led Steve Jobs to become fixated on the design and style of the Macintosh. Its technical capabilities were relatively neglected. Underpowered and expensive, its processor was slower than that of IBM PC. The Macintosh also had very few compatible software programs, due to Apple’s closed Operating System. 

These factors resulted in disappointing sales. The Mac was gradually pushed to the periphery. Its presence was restricted to niche sectors, such as education and graphic design. Apple’s market share and profits began to decline. A series of product flops and missed deadlines further damaged the company’s reputation. 

In 1983, the marketing expert John Sculley was roped in from PepsiCo to run Apple along with Steve Jobs. Under Sculley, Apple’s business strategy began to shift from creating highly priced, premium quality differentiated products to the production of relatively low-cost computers with mass appeal. 

The apparent failure of Steve Jobs to correct the problems with Macintosh led to tensions within the company. With dismal sales and declining income, a power struggle erupted. 

In April 1985, Sculley convinced the company’s Board of Directors to axe the operational role of Steve Jobs at Apple. Jobs resigned from the company shortly afterward to set up a new company, while Steve Wozniak left Apple at around the same time to become a schoolteacher.

John Sculley remained in charge at Apple from 1985 to 1993. During this period, the company was faced with rapid changes in technology and an explosion in the venture capital-driven investment that fuelled them. Apple grappled with the choice of products to develop, and markets to target. 

When these issues were not successfully resolved, the leadership baton was passed on to Michael Spindler. Though an Apple veteran, Spindler failed to arrest the company’s slide. By 1995, Apple had lost strategic focus. It was spreading itself too thin across numerous product lines and geographic markets, and was operating in the red. 7

On the verge of collapse in late 1996, Apple appointed Gilbert Amelio as its new CEO. Amelio noticed that despite intense and prolonged research efforts, Apple had failed to develop an acceptable replacement for the Macintosh’s ageing operating system (OS). 8

NEXTSTEP, the elegant development platform upon which Tim Berners Lee had developed the World Wide Web, was located at a suitable Operating System to fill the gap. This OS was developed by NEXT, the company that had been founded by Steve Jobs after he had left Apple in 1985. Accordingly, NEXT was acquired by Apple for over $400 million. 

Further, Jobs was brought back to Apple in August 1997 – first as a Board member and then as the interim CEO. Though 1997 was Apple’s worst year ever, Steve Jobs thereafter orchestrated one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in modern business history.

The Turnaround

Upon his return to Apple, Steve Jobs set about revitalizing the company. He ended a profit-draining program to license the Mac OS, and announced an alliance with the company’s erstwhile foe Microsoft.

The product line was streamlined to focus upon the company’s traditional markets of education, publishing, and consumers. Several products such as the Newton PDA, the LaserWriter printer line and the Quick Take camera were discontinued.

Manufacturing was outsourced to Taiwan. The direct distribution system was scaled down. A revolutionary new website was launched for selling Apple products online, directly to the customers. The company also opened its own chain of exquisite retail stores.

Further, Apple introduced the Mac OS X (an open-source, UNIX-based Operating System) on all its machines. This new OS provided a more stable operating environment. It was easily accessible to software providers, and permitted the issue of annual upgrades in response to customer feedback. 

Apple also leveraged its industrial design capability, in order to produce more aesthetically pleasing computers. In 1998, the company introduced the iMac- a distinctively designed, one-piece computer that offered high-speed processing at a relatively modest price. 9

The iMac initiated the trend of high-fashion computers. Within a year, it became the highest-selling personal computer in the United States. In the following year, the G4 (a powerful desktop computer) was launched. The iBook (a stylish laptop computer built for students) hit the market in March 2000. 

Apple computers had now become more flexible and attractive. They were branded as aesthetically and functionally appealing alternatives to the dull and boring computers that were otherwise available in the market. An award-winning advertising campaign was launched to urge potential customers to “think different”.

By the end of the decade, Apple’s reputation as a visionary high-technology corporation had been re-established. Though the company was yet to regain the industry dominance it once had, it had certainly been “saved” by the return of Steve Jobs.

Reinventing Apple

In 2001, Steve Jobs set about reinventing Apple for the new millennium. The company introduced the iPod, which was a portable MP3 player that quickly became the market leader. The iTunes was launched soon thereafter as a computer program for playing music. 

In 2003, Apple began selling downloadable copies of major record company songs over the Internet. By 2006, more than a billion songs had been sold through the online iTunes Store. 10

In early 2007, in recognition of the growing shift in the company’s business, the name of the company was officially changed to Apple Inc. Later that year, Apple entered the telecommunications business with the introduction of the iPhone. This was a revolutionary, Internet-enabled, touch-screen mobile telephone with the capability to play music and videos.

In 2011, Apple introduced a cloud computing service. A person’s data as well as applications were stored in the iCloud, and would get automatically updated in the user’s other devices.

In 2014, the company launched an iOS-integrated smart-watch that incorporated fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities.

As a result of continuous and proactive innovation arising from a spirit of excellence, Apple continues to be the world’s most valuable company almost uninterruptedly since late 2011.

Product Design and Development

The personality and philosophy of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs deeply influenced the product development function at the company. This was true while he was alive, and remains valid even after he passed away. 

Jobs was passionate about product design. He insisted that Apple’s computers look perfect on the outside as well as inside. Steve’s vision of design was succinctly captured in the statement “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

However, sophistication arising out of simplicity did not imply an inherent tradeoff between the two attributes. Beauty did not imply the absence of functionality. In fact, the search for elegance often led the company to develop prescient and unanticipated features that appeared in the competitors’ product offerings only much later. 

Exquisite, neat and beautifully designed products were Apple’s hallmark. The company’s guiding tenet of design simplicity required herculean efforts to learn deeply about the essence of every product, the function of each of its components, and the nuances of their engineering. The stunning appearance and performance of Apple products resulted from original thinking and painstaking attention to detail in all aspects of design and development.

At Apple, design simplicity and ease of product use were achieved by eliminating things. The company’s products were noteworthy for what they did notcontain. 

For instance, the slot for inserting diskettes was eliminated from the Macintosh computers. While the iMac started out in an array of colors and in one determined shape, it subsequently came to be offered exclusively in white colour and in vastly varied configurations too. Even the iPhone, which was originally designed as “hermetically” sealed, was later accompanied by a developer platform and a host of dedicated applications. And in the MacBook Air, many features that were hitherto assumed to be indispensable were likewise “missing”. 

When the smallest details were scrutinized, it became easy to discover what could be lived without.However, taking “out” features did not automatically result in the appeal that Apple strove to create. Rather, products were allowed to evolve such that they sometimes went on to include things that were previously eliminated.

Given the popularity of Macs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads over the years, Apple’s success could be attributed to an ability to tap into a sense of that which is trendy at the moment. The reverse was actually the case. Rather than design around what was currently popular, Apple created products that defined or established what was considered to be fashionable at any point in time.

The Design Philosophy

Steve Jobs believed that when the underlying challenges of a design were carefully comprehended, the resulting products became simple, elegant and beautiful. Design simplicity translated into intuitive ease of use, rather than sleekness that intimidates. 

For instance, the design of the original iPod was intimately connected to its pristine white color and the polymer finish that accomplished the look. A two-layered poly-carbon plastic coating over the layer of solid white provided the iPod with a beautiful, snow-colored “skin”. This was then laid on to the rear steel cladding, in order to get a sort of halo around the product. Its development was considered to be technically impossible, but Apple managed to pull it off. 

When the iPod Mini was introduced a few years later, the design philosophy remained exactly the same. However, the Mini utilized the new hard drive technology and was released in multiple colours. To facilitate these,the poly-carbon plastic and “snow” of the original gave way to an alumina metal casing that could be“blasted” and then anodized (the equivalent of dyeing). The Mini became wildly popular. 

The company’s passionate championship of pristine white, and the advocacy of colour within a couple of years with equal enthusiasm, indicated that Apple remained keenly receptive to new technology, materials, and processes. The company eschewed a static approach that assumed a single conclusion. It adopted a dynamic approach to innovation. No product feature or facet was considered sacrosanct. 

Apple’s ability to retain its design philosophy, while it adapted to new technology and materials, was evident in the iPod Nano and Shuffle too. The cost, the physical size, and the amount of music that could be stored on these derivative products were progressively pruned. The idea was that people would want a “portfolio” of iPods. And so they did!

Thus, Apple embraced a constructive approach towards capitalizing upon new and varied design possibilities. However quirky and contrary an idea might initially appear, it was gladly adopted if it served the broader mission of creating “insanely great” products for the rest of the world to use.

The Design Process

Jobs believed that when a design problem appeared to be simple at first glance, this was a sign that its complexity had been poorly understood. The resulting solutions were inadequate and unsatisfactory. 

People would then begin to appreciate and grapple with the true complexity of the issue. Fuzzy solutions were developed, and even operationalized for a while. Soon, the world would move on and get interested in something else. The matter often rested there.

However, Jobs had a distinct vision of design perfection and excellence across-the-board. He considered a great designer to be one who kept the search on, until the key underlying principle of the problem would be located. The design solution that finally emerged would be beautiful, elegant and functional. 

The goal of the original cadre of Apple developers was to design computers that people could fall in love with. This was actually a necessity, since the machines were otherwise expensive to purchase and complex to operate. For the users to choose Apple products, their design needed to be functional, user-friendly, aesthetic and exquisite enough to be regarded as a work of art. And so it came to be!

Apple adopted a relatively unstructured and iterativeapproach towardsproduct design.The process would commence with an abstract notion of that which was to be created and delivered. Slowly, it would get better defined and start to assume a concrete shape. A further refinement would take it toa point where the prototype would begin to deliver something.

It might then occur to the design team that they had missedthe mark completely.The entire software code or product scheme would be set aside. A cleaner model would then be built from scratch, and perhaps get a little lopsided once again with further additions. 

Things would progress iteratively thus, until an insight would suddenly emerge (as if) out of thin air. The exact form of the product would then take shape, almost magically. The designers would now craft a simple, elegant and appropriate solution to the design “problem.” 

Product design requires the courage and confidence to repeatedly set things aside, and build from scratch. Apple often designed products whose utility and appeal were unquestionable, even when the technology to build these had not yet emerged. 

The designers created a target, and then worked with the engineering and the manufacturing teams to reach it. Both sides applied a lot of creativity, ingenuity, and innovation, in order to make the “impossible” happen in actual practice.

User Centricity

Apple believed that its products needed to be simple, interactive and intuitive enough for users to closely integrate their work along with the device. The company paid careful attention to the most minute of details, which the users may not otherwise notice or consciously care about. This significantly contributed to the product’s appeal as well as utility.

For instance, the iPod appeared to be a simple and friendly device that merely allowed people to store and navigate their music. However, the simplification that went into its design had been very well thought through. The fact that no other company managed to duplicate the capabilities of iPod for a long time meant that the building blocks of its design were difficult to come by.

Apple products were designed to be personal tools that facilitated individual efforts for problem solving. After all, a device was merely a tool that helped people to experience or accomplish something. The company thus integratedcustomer experience into its design and development processes,in order to create user-friendly products.Direct user inputs helped toproactively identify any problems or glitches, and facilitate the smooth functioning of the actual product.

While Apple took great care to understand what the people sought in the first place, it would go on to envisage what more the device could potentially do for its users. Extra capabilities that users may not even have dreamt about usually took root in the mind of Apple’s design team, years in advance. The beautifully designed products of the company took shape in this extraordinarily aspirational milieu.

For instance, the Macintosh exemplified the intuitive way in which people could work with a computer. Leveraging the instinctive and habitual ability of the users to shuffle the papers lying on their physical desks,the graphical screen of the Mac was modeled on the metaphor of the desktop. This enabled the users to handle the documents on the computer screen in a similar fashion. 

Bold Experimentation

Steve Jobs once noted that Apple’s explosive growth was not an excuse to play it safe, but to actually get bolder. Asalient example of this line of thought was the company’s audacious decision to move into retail, against near-universal received wisdom. 

The idea of Apple Stores was quite controversial at the time when the company opened its first Apple Store at McLean, Virginia in May 2001. Physical stores were then being derided as “bricks” that were sure to succumb to Internet “clicks.” Similar attempts by Gateway Computers had been a spectacular failure. It was not apparent as to who would come to visit the Apple Store and why. Since the iPod was still a few months away, and the fanatical fan base of Macintosh computers represented a minuscule 3% of the market, Apple’s bet on “foot traffic” was deemed ridiculous.

On the other hand, Dell’s hallowed web-based purchasing approach was considered as the “best-practice” of the day. The company allowed customers to create their own products, by providing various combinations that could be swiftly built and dispatched through efficient manufacturing and delivery processes. Customers used the company’s website to design the exact configuration of the hardware and the software they required, and immediately found out how much it would cost. Further, Dell needed only 36 hours after the receipt of an order before it shipped a computer out of the door.

In contrast, customers visiting an Apple Store found only a few products and a limited amount of software for sale. The available machines were of a specific, pre-determined configuration. Further, they were priced distinctly higher than those available at Dell and other websites. 

Yet, foot traffic is exactly what the Apple Stores generated. Curious non-Apple customers were drawn into elegant surroundings, in upscale locations that hosted beautiful as well as useful devices. Technical repair and support was publicly undertaken at “genius bars” within the store. 

This helped seal the company’s “cool” image.  By 2008, Apple Stores had become architectural statements that attracted a huge number of “destination” shoppers. 

As another example of counter-intuitive experimentation, Apple insisted on developing and integrating its own hardware and software. Its backward migration into designing chips for iPods and iPhones initially appeared to be out of step with the evolution of the industry. 

In a world that celebrated the open source movement, third-party developers, community design and transparency, Apple clearly seemed to be an outlier. Yet, the company regularly managed to create “insanely great”, award-winning devices that were loved and adored by the users. At the same time, these products created handsome profits for the company.

Lessons and Insights

Apple and Steve Jobs are deeply intertwined in the minds of most people. Insights about Apple may thus be gleaned by appreciating the style and personality characteristics of Jobs himself. 

Steve Jobs was an artist as well as an engineer. He was an ardent Buddhist and a hard-nosed businessman at the same time. A seamless integrator of opposites, Steve was an optimist and a pessimist rolled into one. A rugged individualist who appealed to the masses, he was also a prickly and somewhat difficult leader who inspired enormous loyalty among his troops. Jobs stubbornly guarded privacy and secrecy, even as Apple provided the world with the tools of transparency. 

Brilliance, insight, and courage were the hallmarks of Steve Jobs. His “satori” leaps of genius redefined the technology landscape forever. Jobs could hold two completely disparate ideas and values in the mind at the same time, and then synthesize these in order to create simple, elegant and intuitive outcomes. 

Steve’s biographer Walter Isaacson considered the following attributes as the key to Apple’s success, particularly during the time that the company was under the active stewardship of Jobs: 11

Focus

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. 12

After product review sessions, Steve drew a two-by-two grid. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Professional”. He labeled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” He then instructed the team to focus on developing just four great products, one for each quadrant. The others were cancelled.12

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” Jobs believed.

Simplicity

The Zen-like ability of Steve Jobs to focus was accompanied by the related instinct to simplify things, by zeroing in on their essence and eliminating unnecessary components. 13

For instance, during the visit to Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, he saw the plans for a computer that had a graphical user interface (GUI) and a three-button mouse. Steve immediately set about making the design simpler and more intuitive. While the Xerox mouse cost $300, Jobs took the help of a local design firm in order to develop one that cost only $15!

When behind, leapfrog

The hallmark of excellence is not only to emerge with new ideas first but also to leapfrog when one has fallen behind. 11When Apple built the original iMac, the focus was upon helping the user manage photos and videos. The music was relatively neglected. On the other hand, the IBM PCs facilitated song downloads and the burning of CDs. 

Instead of merely catching up by upgrading the CD drive of the iMac, Apple created an integrated system that would transform the music industry. The result was the trio of iTunes, the iTunes Store, and the iPod that allowed users to seamlessly buy, share, manage, store, and play music.

Put Products before Profits

Apple’s mandate to the Macintosh design team in the early 1980s was to make an “insanely great” product with remarkable capabilities, without worrying about profit maximization or cost trade-offs. 

At his first retreat with the Macintosh team, Steve Jobs began by writing a maxim on his whiteboard “Don’t compromise.” The machine that resulted was very costly, and led to his ouster from Apple. Nevertheless, it accelerated the home computer revolution. 12

In the long run, Apple got the balance right. It created legendary products and reaped unprecedented fame and success as a result. 

Think Ahead

Steve Jobs believed that caring deeply about the customer’s needs and wants required an instinctive feel for the desires that had not yet formed in their minds and hearts. Instead of relying on market research, Jobs honed his own version of empathy and intimate intuition about how best the customers and their needs could be served. 14

Steve often invoked the words of Henry Ford, “If I would have asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’”

Bend Reality

Steve Jobs had the capacity to inspire people to achieve the “unachievable”, and to innovate the “impossible”. His colleagues dubbed it as Steve’s Reality Distortion Field.  

For instance, Steve Jobs complained to Larry Kenyon (the engineer responsible for the Macintosh’s operating system) that the machine was taking too long to boot up. Brushing off Kenyon’s protestations, Jobs asked him, “If it would save a person’s life, could you find a way to shave 10 seconds off the boot time?” Kenyon accepted that he probably could. 

Steve then showed that if five million people were using the Mac, and it took 10 seconds extra to turn it on every day, this added up to around 300 million hours an year. That was the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes. This interaction had the desired impact. Kenyon was able to program the machine to boot up 28 seconds faster within a few weeks.

Push for Perfection

During the development of almost every product, Steve would repeatedly go back to the drawing board because he felt that the conception was not perfect. 

For instance, the initial design of the iPhone had the glass screen set into an aluminum case. The device felt too masculine, task-driven, and efficient. 12Jobs mandated the team to design afresh. “We are all going to have to work nights and weekends. If you want, we can hand out some guns so that you can kill us now,” he exhorted. 

Instead of balking, the people agreed. This became one of his proudest moments at Apple.

Steve’s perfectionism extended even to the parts unseen. As a young boy, he had helped his father build a fence around their backyard. They employed as much care on the back of the fence, as on its front. In response to the lad’s complaint that nobody will ever know what is on the back, Paul Jobs replied, “But you will know.” It was the mark of a true artist to have such a passion for excellence and perfection.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs was influenced by two cultures during his early life: the hippie movement of the San Francisco Bay Area and the high-tech, entrepreneurial culture of the Silicon Valley. 

An admixture of these cultures was found in publications such as Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog. 12On its first cover was the famous picture of Earth taken from space, indicating that technology could be friendly. The final issue carried a photograph of an early morning country road, with the words “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” written beneath it.

Steve Jobs stayed hungry and foolish throughout his career. He complemented the business and engineering aspects of his personality with his nonconformist and artistic streaks. 12

Concluding Reflections

Steve Jobs has often been aptly described as the “Father of the Digital Revolution.” He blazed an innovative path at Apple, for over thirty-five years. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, in particular, Apple created an unprecedented level of confidence in its ability to outclass everyone else. For a time, there appeared to be literally nothing that the company could not manage to accomplish.  

With the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, Apple literally re-invented three new product markets. Its product announcements came every few months, with new features and devices unveiled before adoring audiences at a rate fast enough to encourage addiction. 15

In August 2011, on account of his failing health, Steve Jobs passed on the leadership baton to Tim Cook. Tim had been brought in to Apple sixteen years earlier. The company had desperately needed the organizational strengths and the operational expertise that Cook possessed, and Jobs lacked.

By all accounts, Cook is just as dedicated as his predecessor. He is also as much of a workaholic, and holds equally high-performance standards too.

However, when the dying Jobs handpicked Cook as his successor, he recognized that the two of them were very different in many ways. Cook is as calm as Jobs was mercurial. Tim is known for transparency and maintains an open-door policy, while Steve was notoriously secretive. While Jobs was constantly looking to innovate, Cook prefers to focus on products that are already doing very well. 16

Steve was a passionate, albeit abrasive, leader who demanded perfection and excellence from his team. Cook continues the quest for excellence at Apple, but with a distinctly different management style. 17It might be fair to say that while Steve Jobs was truly one of the greatest visionary entrepreneurs ever, Cook is arguably a far better CEO. 

Since the death of Jobs seven years ago, Apple remains without a landmark new product. The Apple Watch is a limited success, while the Apple TV is yet to make its mark. 

Yet, the company is soaring in ways that it never did before. Its revenues, profits and stock price continue to hit new highs, while the stockholders are rewarded with regular dividends. 18

Without the physical presence and the “wow” factor that Steve Jobs provided to the company, it remains to be seen if Apple shall continue to be as successful in the new regime.As the company celebrated its forty-second birthday, the key question is not whether Apple can continue to stay ahead of Samsung, Google and others. Rather, the world seeks to know if it has the capacity to re-invent itself successfully for “Life After Steve Jobs.”

The jury is still out!

References

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3. Sommer J, Russell K. Apple Is the Most Valuable Public Company Ever. But How Much of a Record Is That? [Internet]. Nytimes.com. 2017 [cited 8 May 2018]. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/05/your-money/apple-market-share.html

4.Hill B. The iTunes influence, part one: How Apple changed the face of the music marketplace [Internet]. Engadget. 2013 [cited 9 March 2016]. Available from: https://www.engadget.com/2013/04/29/the-itunes-influence-part-one/

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8. Levy S. Steve Jobs | American businessman [Internet]. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2018 [cited 8 May 2018]. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Steve-Jobs#ref672377

9. Aljafari A. Apple Inc. Industry Analysis Business Policy and Strategy. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research. 2016;7(3):406.

10. Apple Inc. iTunes Music Store Sells Over One Million Songs in First Week [Internet]. 2003. Available from: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2003/05/05iTunes-Music-Store-Sells-Over-One-Million-Songs-in-First-Week/

11. Isaacson W. Steve Jobs. 1st ed. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2011.

12. Isaaacson W. The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs [Internet]. Harvard Business Review. 2012 [cited 14 March 2016]. Available from: https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-real-leadership-lessons-of-steve-jobs

13. Allen F. Forbes Welcome [Internet]. Forbes.com. 2012 [cited 15 March 2016]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/03/20/the-zen-at-the-heart-of-steve-jobs-genius/#7d5e2c95198c

14. Gregoire C. The Unexpected Source That Inspired Whole Foods, Apple’s Sleek Design and The White Album [Internet]. HuffPost India. 2013 [cited 16 March 2016]. Available from: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/famous-inspiration-from-meditation_n_4297598

15. Hausman A. Steve Jobs Possessed the Entrepreneurial Leadership Apple Desperately Needs Once Again – Capitalist Creations [Internet]. Capitalist Creations. 2013 [cited 18 March 2016]. Available from: http://capitalistcreations.com/steve-jobs-possessed-the-entrepreneurial-leadership-apple-desperately-needs-once-again/

16. Graham J, Swartz J. Tim Cook at 5 years: More profits, less innovation [Internet]. Usatoday.com. 2016 [cited 30 August 2016]. Available from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/08/24/tim-cook-5-years-more-profits-less-innovation/89206978/

17. Tim Cook Leads Apple Into A Record-Breaking 2015 (AAPL) [Internet]. Investopedia. 2015 [cited 17 March 2016]. Available from: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/professionals/081715/how-does-tim-cooks-management-style-differ-steve-jobs.asp

18. Solomon B. Forbes Welcome [Internet]. Forbes.com. 2017 [cited 8 May 2018]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2017/05/02/apple-hits-new-all-time-high-ahead-of-earnings/#2f457edf1e21

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