Apple is known to be a legend of the modern American economy. It was founded by two engineers Stave Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Currently Apple Incorporation is an American multinational corporation which designs and manufactures electronics, software and personal computers. It is well-known for hardware products, which include Macintosh line of computers, iPods, iPhones and iPads. Apple software includes the Mac OS X operating system, iTunes media browser, I life suite of multimedia end creativity software, I work suite of office programs, a professional photography package, Final Cut Studio, Suite professional audio and cinema – industrial software products, Logic Studio, a set of music production, Safari web browser, and the IOS – the mobile operating system. There are many factors that allowed Apple to be as successful as it is right now. As the arrival of the new iPhone 5 is expected in September 2012, people call it “the Apple fall season”. The rate of sales of many rival cell phone companies is predicted to drop. As many competitors try to find a way to compete with Apple, the arrival of its new phone has already shown how perfect Apple in competition making, as it is the most wanted and anticipated phone. The demand for Apple products is enormous if to consider the spread of rumors that Apple might even start its own TV products. As time passes people think Apple will decrease the prices for their goods, but as a perfect competitor the company set the prices that no one is to challenge. Today, the company operates 301 stores in ten countries and owns an online store where hardware and software products can be bought. Since May 2010, Apple has been one of the largest companies in the world with the most valuable technologies (Balakrishnan, Leng, 2012).
Thus, the following scheme of strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats can be composed:
S – Controlled sales atmosphere
S – Complete software and hardware package
S – Use of the new technologies
S – Brand stability
S – Brand loyalty
S – Easy to use products
S – High cash position
S – Product differentiation
W – A lot of investments in R&D
W – Reliant on suppliers
W – High prices on the products
W – Patent infringement
W – Competitors: Microsoft and Intel
O – Huge market share
O – Ability to expand
O – Sustainable product differentiation
O – Internet sales
T – Dependence on consumers
T – Competitive environment
T – Dependence on suppliers
T – Unsteady global economy positions
The abovementioned scheme shows that Apple Incorporation is very competitive. The Company`s main strength is the use of innovative technologies and approaches, due to which it has its own niche in the market. Thus, such products as iPod and iTunes do not have analogies amid the competitive manufactures. The use of effective corporate strategies gave the Incorporation brand loyalty, which is a very important factor for prosperous business. In addition, the Company is known to be the one with the lowest debt among the others. Due to its technologies and professional staff, Apple has a controlled sales atmosphere. What is more, the variety of products provides Apple with the numerous customers of different age groups. Thus, the company has much extended target market. Another advantage is that Apple`s products are easy and very comfortable to use. The invention of the iTune Music Store also became one of the advantages. The creation of iPod, especially the one with the Windows operational system access, became one of the most profitable inventions (Doug & Staff). Finally, Apple Computers is the expert in the software development and none of the electronic producers can compete with it. All these strengths have allowed the company to obtain one of the highest ranks of the annual profit. In addition, it has many opportunities. The main opportunity of the company is its collaboration with other manufacturers. In addition, due to its big market share, the company has an ability to be expanded to other areas of market. Currently, Apple develops the system of antivirus programs, which will be in demand due to the constant process of invention of new viruses. In addition, mp3 players, produced by Apple, are and will be in demand in the future. What is more, the fast development of the Apple online store is very promising due to the fact that the number of computers sold online is increasing with each year. Finally, the variety of products sold online will be one of the main opportunities in the future.
Apple was one of several successful companies that broke grounds assuming that the corporate culture should look like the organizational hierarchy. Initially, the company’s corporative strategy was an opposition to the competitors` strategies. Apple did not want to follow the IBM default. The interesting fact is that Steve Jobs often walked around the office barefoot even after Apple became on the list of Fortune 500 companies. Thus, the main Apple`s strategy is to be unique and original. According to this, Apple has created the list of the strategies to overcome competitors (Doug & Staff).
Apple Competition Strategies
Firstly, it is its marketing strategy. That is positioning, differentiation, USP (unique selling proposition), PR, advertising and other tricks helping to change the consumer `s consciousness about buying Apple products. Apple divides products into two types: for those who understand (and therefore are willing to pay for this “understanding“), and for those who think differently searching for comfort. Apple positions its products as elitist and branding. Due to this, the company sells the products at a higher price than if they were not positioned as the one of such category. We should not forget about another base, on which Apple is standing, which is the American system of education. In 1997, 25% of the school computers in the U.S. were Apple II. As a result of this, the students form a layer from where Apple takes its life-power (Doug & Staff).
Secondly, for a long time, Apple’s products were designed for a narrow circle or so-called “elite”. Historically, Apple has worked in a segment of “creative professionals”. Today, the company’s products are popular because of their content creation, graphic design, publishing business, education and architectural design. In addition, the Apple customers are people who think differently. Due to this strategy, Apple has been a developing company for the last thirty years. It is moving into the premium segment of the computer market. At the same time, the main reason for such a transition is the use of Intel processors and Windows software in Apple computers. Moreover, it is influenced by the increase among the potential retail customers with high incomes, who are interested in purchasing premium products.
To conclude, even though the company has some weaknesses, it is very powerful and performs perfectly with other companies of this business. The main Apple`s opportunity for the future development is the collaboration with the other companies. In addition, due to its big market share, the company has the ability to be expanded to other areas of the market. Finally, the differentiation of the products sold online will be one of the opportunities in the future. The main threat is the company`s dependence on the customers. However, even this doesn’t make it less competitive. The rivals’ evaluation has shown that Apple is much stronger than its competitors. As a perfect competitor Apple has set high prices and managed to interest those people who are willing to pay such price for the products they like.