Apple Inc. is an American electronics company based in California that specializes in designing and selling of consumer electronics like computers, computer software, music players, and mobile phones. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne are the pioneers of Apple Company. Its first product was the Apple I personal computer kit, which was sold for $666. On January 3, 1977, during its incorporation, Mark Markkula injected $250,000 and some business expertise to give the company a great boost towards its transformation and expansion (Kyle, 2003, p. 17). On April 16, 1977, Apple unveiled the Apple II, which came with the killer application software, their next project, the Apple III, though it was a total flop with regard to how the Apple II had performed in relation to the expectations that the next project would be better. In 1980, “Apple went public and was able to generate more capital compared to any other company since Ford Motor Company IPO of 1956” (Wozniak, 2006, p.12). In 1984, Apple spends $1.5 million in preparing the T.V commercial christened“1984”, which was directed by film director Ridley Scott and aired during the third quarter of the super bowl. This proved to be its breakthrough moment, as it prepared the ground for the successful launch of the Macintosh, which later on proved to be one of Apple’s success story (Maxwell, 2001, p.7).
Apple’s target market is the technology industry with gadgets that set the trend and are trendy with the consumers by being mostly the first in that field. Apple has diversified its products in such a way that it comes up with products that are easily embraced by consumers in that, by the time the product is launched, there is a ready and anticipating market. It first came up with desktop computers like the Macintosh, which though portable were very bulky. They came up with laptops called Mac books, which are up-to-date, thus being regarded as the best, as well as the most expensive computers in the technology market (Fisher, 2008, p.66). Apple also produces computer operating systems like the Mac OS X. Apple’s market varies in nature from the middle and upper-class folks through twelve-year-olds who love music to media persons and designers. Apple has entered the mobile phone industry with the iPhone, which has so far proved a success in the mobile phone market by coming third behind Samsung and Nokia phones (Markoff, 2007, p. 26).
The Future Ahead of Apple’s Products
Apple faces the biggest challenge to its future products because of its competitors like Samsung, Microsoft, and other mobile phone companies that have also ventured into the integrated technology market. Most of its competitors have come up with closer innovations to what was exclusively Apple’s domain such as touch screen technology. Apple’s products are deemed expensive compared to Microsoft’s. Thus, it has given its rival an opportunity to dominate the market in an almost monopolistic manner due to Microsoft’s affordable products (Bagnall, 2005, p. 109). In 2007, Apple’s PC market share was estimated at only 3% globally. Therefore, Apple needs to come up with products that are affordable to the masses due to the availability of technology that it previously enjoyed exclusively. Apple’s future products need to go a notch higher in terms of new technological innovations that will stand out against an onslaught from its competitors who are matching up to Apple. This can only happen by investing in a robust research and development team that will be up to this task.
Though there seems to be much competition from other similar products, Apple has moved ahead of times and is soon launching the iPhone 5 phone that will so far be the only phone on the market capable of running on 4G network. Most analysts say that Apple’s future lies in the iClouds and therefore needs to invest so much in the cloud technology. This is simply a backup technology that allows the users to retrieve data in their components in case they are lost or damaged. So far, there are questions about the capacity of the iClouds to store the amount of data that will be generated when all of Apple’s clients will decide to make use of the facility. To compete favorably, Apple may have to outsource some of its components, as well as labor from countries whose production costs are cheaper. This is because production costs in the USA are very high as compared to the cost of producing the same components in Asian countries like China, Korea, India, Singapore, and even Malaysia. Most of these countries whose production costs are cheaper that the USA are at the same time the host countries for companies like Samsung and the producers for companies like Microsoft who are Apple’s greatest competitors. This will offer Apple an almost level playing field with its competitors.
How They Govern Themselves
A chief Executive Officer who is appointed by the board leads the Apple Company. He/she reports to the board of directors who sit on the board by virtue of nomination by the nomination and corporate governance committee. This committee vets and recommends members to be appointed to the board with regard to their qualifications. Members to the board are supposed to adhere to the ethics code of conducts with regard to its business policy. The company has well-documented corporate governance guidelines that guide the board on its conduct within and without the company. The guidelines also set the terms of service for the board members showing how they would conduct themselves during their time with Apple, as well as their exit from Apple. It also spells out guidelines with regard to director’s conflicts of interest, which require them not to engage in any business that is in conflict with the corporation’s best interest. Apple’s policy on political contributions and expenditure states that the corporation should participate fully in the formulation of policy within the government’s structures in pursuit of interests that are best for the company. The corporation’s contributions towards funding political parties should be within its guidelines and policies. Apple has a policy that encourages its employees to report any questionable accounting or auditing issues.
The corporation has provided a hotline for this worldwide. It ensures the protection of the whistleblower identity. The corporation’s policy prohibits its directors and employees from engaging hedging transactions and short selling of Apple stocks. The corporation has committee charters in the following areas: Audit and Finance committee, compensation committee, and the nominating and corporate governance committee. The CEO is required to run the company in tandem with the codes of ethics required by the company (Paul, 2008, p.24). The evaluation of the CEO’s performance has to follow the company’s performance on the market, as well as set goals. In most occasions, this has been against the performance of the latest product to be launched on the market, the reviews that it would generate, and the general sales within a given time compared to the last product on the market. The company’s CEO is, on most times, the face of the company. This can be seen every time the company unveils a new product. The CEO does the presentation. The most outstanding CEO at all times who is credited with Apple’s success has been the late Steve Jobs who turned its fortunes around on his second comeback. Therefore, Apple always tries as much as possible to recruit the best leaders in the market to manage its affairs.
In conclusion, Apple has so far come a long way, which in essence has not been as smooth as its success looks. It has had its shortfalls in terms of product failure, boardroom wrangles, as well as the most challenging of all: the demise of Steve Jobs who is seen as Apple’s face and backbone (Derrick, 2011, p.11). Apple has also faced lawsuits with regard to patent rights to some of its software, which run such products like the iPod. These were some of their most valuable inventions in terms of sales. The threats to share their profits with the people who lay claims to some of the technology they use have always been a problem. In general, Apple has a bright future with regard to where it wants to go in the technology market.
Bagnall, B. (2005). On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore. California: Variant Press.
Derrick, J. (2011). What’s Apple’s Future. Technology Today. 2(1),.11-12.
Fisher, A. (2008). Americas Most admired Companies. Fortune, 157(5), 65–67.
Kyle, T. (2003). The rise and rise of Apple. Journal of Technology Systems, 5(1), 15-18.
Markoff, J. (2007). New mobile phone signals Apple ambition. New York: New York Times.
Maxwell, P. (2001). Apple challenges. Journal of Business and Information Technology, 3(1), 7-8.
Paul, W. (2008). Corporate governance challenges. The Corporation Today, 8(2), 23-24.
Wozniak, S. (2006). iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It (pp. 35-38). California: W.W: Norton & Company.