SWOT and KSF Report on Apple Computers

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  SWOT and KSF Report on Apple Computers

  1. INTRODUCTION

This SWOT and KSF report on Apple will begin with a brief description and history of Apple. This is important as Apple’s development since its founding in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak has been erratic, to say the least, and a SWOT and KSF analysis carried out in the early or middle years would look very different from such an analysis today. Apple Computer, Inc is an American computer technology company with annual sales of $13.9billion and 14,800 employees worldwide. Apple develops, sells and supports a series of personal computers, laptops, portable media players and software and hardware accessories. Its most famous products are: the iPod portable music player, the iTunes store and the Macintosh line of personal and laptop computers. The company operates retail stores in the United States, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.[1]

  1. Objectives

The objectives of this paper are as follows:

  1. To give a brief history of Apple since its beginnings in 1976, highlighting key developments and events.
  2. To carry out an internal analysis of the company: identify its strengths and weaknesses
  3. To carry out an external analysis of the company: identify the opportunities and threats in the marketplace
  4. To identify key success factors by industry, organisation and customers.
  1. History

On October 6, 1997, Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers, was asked what he would do if he owned Apple. He is reputed to have said: “I would close it down and give the proceeds to the shareholders.”[2] On January 13, 2006, Apple’s market capitalisation surpassed that of Dell![3] The financial ups and downs of Apple reflected in this situation require some brief explanation. The beginnings of Apple in 1976, like Hewlett Packard, were in a garage. Jobs and Wozniak sourced components from where they could and sold personal computers at low volumes – the Apple I and later the Apple II. They rapidly became market leaders, however, and began to symbolise the personal computer revolution. Their name initially was built on good colour graphics and high build quality. They were the first to introduce a personal computer on to the market with graphic user interface (GUI), the Apple Lisa and with the advent of spreadsheet software their reputation was enhanced by the association with the then market leaders, Visicalc, which enabled them to enter the business market. Apple more or less invented the DTP (desk-top-publishing) market in the early 1980s with the introduction of the Macintosh but there were technical problems, internal disagreements and Steve Jobs left in 1985 to be replaced as CEO by John Sculley and set up his own company, Next. During this period (post 1985) IBM launched its range of PCs and Microsoft launched Windows – in direct competition with Apple. Apple Lisa never took off in the market due to its high price.

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