level extrinsic measures by which firms in the industry compete. The two extremes of high-price and low-price reveal similar support policies. Firms commanding the highest prices offer comprehensive support packages. Apple offers in-store one-on-one support to all customers and further warranty support (Apple Inc. 2010).
Apple Inc. Analysis & Strategic Management 6 On the contrary, firms that emphasize customization on customers do offer computers that are built for high-performance applications, such as gaming. Customization of computers is driven by gaming in addition to specifications and appearances. Harps (2009) notes that competition in the computing industry have been shaped on the basis of gaming and customization. Effective competition in the industry requires use of certain strategies that include differentiation of products, innovation, research and development and increased networking. On differentiation, Apple has successfully developed a differentiated lifestyle brand and must continue to build on this foundation while resisting pressure to move to the middle to directly compete with Dell and HP. The corporation has increased its innovation leading to the company continue its market leadership in design. Moreover, innovation on user interfaces must continue if the company wants to set apart Mac computers from other PCs with more focus on easy to use. Networking strategies should involve the establishment of more points of sale with more retail outlets. Apples strategic resources According to Dhaliwal (2009), the CEO of Apple (Steve jobs), and the integrated system of hardware and software that the firm has developed and successfully marketed to derive value form the most important strategic resources of Apple. The CEO of the company brought Apple back to tremendous success following a decline in relevance and he heads the continued creation of value in the corporation. While Apple’s designers, programmers, and engineers each represent key resources, the ability of the firm to exploit their abilities to create their entire software/hardware ecosystem is the firm’s key capability. Taken each individually, the resources only represent competitive parities and temporary advantages. The combination is their key
Apple Inc. Analysis & Strategic Management 7 capability that has established a sustainable and ongoing competitive advantage and above average performance within the industry (“Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition,” 2009). Retail stores: the corporation introduced retail stores providing the company with an important physical presence to act as both a sales location and an advertisement. The stores allow Apple to tightly control the image of the brand and provide excellent customer service. The corporation is a top retailer in in-store sales. This resource is of incredible value to Apple and a success that is a relative rarity in the industry. Matching success and impact like the Apple store model is difficult for other firms to achieve (Useem, 2007). Past experiments like Gateway stores have failed, while Sony Style stores founder in mediocrity.
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