Apple Inc’s Product Management and SWOT Analysis

Introduction

Apple Inc. is one of the leading electronic firms in the world that has experienced a massive success over the past decade. According to Sutherland (2012), this firm has been regarded as the most innovative firm in the recent past because of its ability to come up with products which are beyond the expectations of its customers. The management of this firm has created an environment that promotes creativity and innovativeness among the employees.

This is the main reason why this firm has remained highly innoa vative in its operations. It is important to understand the industry within which this firm operates to be in a position to explain it has been able to achieve success within the last twelve years. According to O’Grady (2009), Apple experienced serious challenges in the 1980s when they eliminated Steve Jobs as its chief executive.

However, things changed suddenly when the firm rehired Jobs in 1997. The firm started experiencing transformational changes that helped it achieve massive success in the market. It is necessary to investigate these issues to determine if the success can solely be attributed to Jobs leadership skills or if other factors also helped in influencing the positive change that this firm experienced. To do this, a SWOT Analysis would be necessary.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is one of the most the effective tools that can be used to study a firm to determine how it uses its internal forces to manage the external factors of the environment (Emerald Group Publishing, n.d., para. 4). This analysis will help in investigating Apple to determine how it has been able to go against all odds in a highly competitive electronic market to emerge as one of the leading firms in the industry.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Analysis of the internal environment of Apple Inc. will provide a clear picture of the trend it has taken to achieve success, some of the challenges it faces in its internal operations, and how the management has been n able to deal with these problems. This analysis will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the firm in the market.

Strengths

Apple Inc. is one of the most successful electronic firms in the world today. This success can be attributed to the strengths in its operations. According to Lüsted (2012), one of the main strengths of Apple is its effective leadership. This scholar says that it is almost impossible to talk about the success of Apple without mentioning Steve Jobs, its former chief executive.

Jobs came to the firm when it was experiencing fundamental problems in its operations. Many people doubted whether the firm would be able to sustain its operations in the market at that time. However, he brought superior management skills that changed the image of the firm completely. He made the employees realize that they had the capacity to deliver better services to the firm.

Through his transformational leadership qualities, Apple was able to navigate the competitive electronic market to become the leading industry player. He made the Apple brand to be associated with high quality in the global market of electronics. He also helped in maintaining the morale of the employees.

The innovative nature of this firm is another strength that has helped it achieve massive success in its operations. The iPhone and the iPad received massive acceptance in the market because they were unique products. They offered high value to customers beyond their expectation. This helped in improving its popularity in the market. The technical skill and expertise that the firm uses is also very superior.

The management has been keen on hiring highly skilled workforce in order to enable it to address some of the technical issues in this industry. The capacity of Apple to meet the market demands with superior products has also helped the firm to be successful.

Its financial performance has also played a major role in boosting its performance. The firm has experienced massive financial success through the sale of its products in the global market. The image of the firm, especially the strength of its brand, has also helped in achieving success in the electronics industry.

Weaknesses

According to Gillam (2012), it is always imperative to identify the weaknesses of a firm that may affect its ability to be successful in the market. Despite the strengths of Apple identified in the section above, there are some weaknesses that have affected its operations in the market.

One of the main weaknesses that Apple has faced in the market is the inability to come up with new products that are incorruptible by the competitors. The firm has been engaged in legal battles with some of its fiercest competitors over breach of its copyright. This is so because some of its high-quality products have designs that can easily be copied by the competitors.

The firm has also been accused of high-handedness in its management approach. Although Steve Jobs was a transformational leader, some of the employees considered him a dictator. This led to a high turnover of employees, especially in the early years of Jobs’ return to the firm. Some consumers have accused Apple Inc. of misusing online marketing platforms.

The pop-up adds on e-mails and other websites have been considered irritating. Some of these adverts were also misused by cyber criminals who fleeced unsuspecting individuals of their money promising millions of dollars in cash prizes from Apple. It took some time for Apple to respond to these issues. This tainted its image in the global market.

Opportunities and Threats

It is necessary to conduct an evaluation of the market in order to identify the opportunities it has to offer, and the threats that Apple has to be ready to deal with in order to remain successful.

Opportunities

The electronic market has been rapidly expanding over the years. According to Jeffery (2010), the mobile phone has almost become a basic need both in the developed and developing economies. This means that Apple has a massive market that needs its products. The recent rise in population of the middle class in China, India, and parts of Africa has also offered an opportunity for this firm to sell its high-end products which are popular among this class.

The emerging technologies have also offered various opportunities to Apple. Technology has improved speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of the production strategies. It has also reduced the time taken by this firm to deliver its products to the global market. The management of the firm can also monitor operations in plants located in China without having to leave the offices in the United States.

Threats

There are some threats that the management of this firm needs to find an effective way of dealing with in order to avoid their negative consequences. The massive competition, especially from the arch-rival Samsung, should be put to check. This competition may force this firm to engage in price wars that may erode its profitability. The legal battles that Apple has had with Samsung over patent issues may also affect the operations and image of the firm.

A permanent solution should be found to this problem. The emerging trends in the market are threats that the management must address. The electronic market is so dynamic that it may not be possible to predict what the consumers will demand tomorrow.

Apple Inc. spends a lot of financial and human resources to conduct research and to come up with new superior products. However, sometimes the products do not last in the market before they are considered old-fashioned. This forces the firm to undergo such an expensive process to deliver new products.

SWOT Table

Examples Not Useful Statement Better Statement Best Statement
Internal Strength Brand image/financial strength Our brand image is strong Our current market share for computers is 10% Our global market shares for various products have experienced growth. Currently, our market share for personal computers is 10%
Internal weaknesses Employee turnover Employees turnover is high The firm has experienced high employee turnover in the recent past In the last 4 years alone, our firm has lost 12% of its employees in various departments
External Opportunities Improved technology Technology has been useful to the firm Technology has improved production and marketing strategies The firm has benefited from improved production and distribution strategies due to emerging technologies
External threats Competition Competition is stiff We are facing stiff completion in the market Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and HP offer stiff competition in the market.

References

Emerald Group Publishing. (n.d.). Developing Critical Thinking. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/learning/study_skills/skills/critical_thinking.htm

Gillam, S. (2012). Steve Jobs: Apple icon. Minneapolic, MN: ABDO Pub. Co.

Jeffery, M. (2010). Data-driven marketing: The 15 metrics everyone in marketing should know. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley.

Lüsted, M. A. (2012). Apple: The company and its visionary founder, Steve Jobs. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.

O’Grady, J. D. (2009). Apple Inc. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Sutherland, A. (2012). The story of Apple. New York: Rosen Central.