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As the newly appointed CEO and with the understanding that Apple Inc. has been facing volatile stock prices of late, below is the strategic plan report to present to the Board of Directors on the 90 days in office. Apple is the current top brand of the world and over the years, the company has exhibited more strengths than weaknesses (Gupta & Prinzinger, 2013). However, that does not imply that the company does not face competition. In fact, over the last two decades, the threats as far as Apple’s market leadership is concerned has increased tremendously since every other company wants to beat Apple (Jemala, 2013). In order to understand how deep the company is in trouble currently, SWOT analysis of the company in the international frontier revealed the following.
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Strengths in the SWOT Analysis of Apple
Key to the success of Apple in the market has been its innovations with reference to new products (Finkle & Mallin, 2010). The company has been able to produce a hit product that is market favorite after another and that has been the major strength of Apple Inc. Looking down the history, the company initially had MacBook, followed by iPod, then came the IPhone, the IPad and later the IWatch. Precisely, the company has been able to cover all that which a customer desires as far as technology sensitive devices are concerned (Jemala, 2013).
Also, the company enjoys the leadership position as per Wikipedia. Apple remains the leading technology company in terms of the generated revenue besides being the second largest smart phone manufacturer of all times (Sarfraz, 2017). It indeed set a new world record by being the first American company to surpass the 700 billion dollars revenue in 2014 after it was ranked as the largest publicly traded company worldwide (Sarfraz, 2017). This is strong evidence of the leader that Apple is as a brand and as a company. Such strong leadership is key for success over the years.
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Technology and design features also plays a key role in the success of the company (Yu, 2013). Experts have cited the technology and design advancement by the company as a key ingredient of success. The company’s product have been famous with the customers due to elegant and suave designs besides an incomparable performances which denotes advanced technology (Yu, 2013). This factor has helped the company retain its client besides attracting more new ones over the years.
Besides production of high quality products, the distribution function of Apple is above par. The company has ensured that items gets to the customers in their nearest outlets through a network of 470 Apple owned stores in 17 countries worldwide (Sarfraz, 2017). Further, Apple taps into trade partnerships, premium retail stores as well as through online channels. As a measure to increase their availability to the customer, the company has launched the Apple bar where customer issues are solved promptly giving the company a legendary concentration on its sales and distribution services (Yu, 2013).
Being a market leader and enjoying exquisite brand equity, Apple Inc. enjoys incomparable margins (Yu, 2013). These margins are charged on customers whose loyalty has been won by the company and the same hefty margins are invested in R & D to come up with new technology and designs to continue meeting the global markets demands for Apple items (Jemala, 2013).
Weaknesses in the SWOT Analysis of Apple
Despite the many strengths of the company, there are considerable weaknesses as well. First, through innovativeness and new ethnology, Apple Inc. has gained market leadership. The huge market on the other hand comes with varied consumer expectations that are almost going through the roof for the company to manage. It has therefore become difficulty for the company to keep pace with these expectations and address them adequately without tainting its image (Sarfraz, 2017).
Further, many of the company’s products are incompatible with third party company software or accessories (Jemala, 2013). It therefore limits the extent of use and absorption of the company’s products to only those that can afford an entire gadget. This has cut the world for Apple item users to continue using Apple products only and many have complained of feeling that they live in their own world.
Likewise, the company has about 7-8 products in its portfolio. This is not advisable for a big company like Apple to rely on so narrow a product line especially compared to the various products owned by their competitors like Google and Microsoft (Jemala, 2013). It therefore means that Apple’s dependency on each of these items for survival is very high and it is a risk.
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Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis of Apple
The company has considered investing in Apple cars by the year 2020 considering that other competitors like Facebook have ventured to fields like Whatsapp, Instagram, Occulus while Google has expanded in more than 10 different ways.
Closely related to the expansion along the portfolio is the opportunity of technological advancement. Apple has the resources and the track experience as far as technology is concerned and therefore the company can leverage upon that to achieve higher levels of success going forward (Jemala, 2013). As such, the customers should expect even more advanced MacBooks or iPhone going forward.
Nevertheless, Apple has been ranked as a growing company in a growing market (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). The mobile and other related market is still growing and so is Apple. Very important to the company is that the GDPs of developing countries have been on the rise which implies that the consumption power of the people will increase to the advantage of companies like Apple (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). The growing GDPs imply growing market and that is a great opportunity for Apple to soar in profits.
Finally is the innovation of Iwatch and the Apple TV. These two products have been named as the future of Apple in terms of increasing its presence in the market in the years to come (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). This is because the two items are digitalized and Apple made them with the mind that one day digitization will be all over and inevitable meaning they will reap big then.
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Threats in the SWOT Analysis of Apple
There is no known threat to Apple as a company. However, there are several threats to Apple as a brand arising from the immense competition from other market players. Being number one in the world market makes one an obvious target by other companies and so is the position of Apple. For instance, there is the constant threat of successful market penetration by smartphones. Android for example has been ranked as the biggest threat after the technology has gained 47.5 % of market share as compared to Apple’s 42% by October 2017 (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). The technology is being pushed by some giant companies like Samsung, Lenovo, HTC and any other company that wants to successfully enter the smart phone market. The fact that Android is a product of Google should make Apple be ready for some severe Smartphone competition (Gupta, & Prinzinger, 2013). Finally there is the competition in the laptop industry. MacBook may perform well now but not forever since other companies are as well putting efforts to outdo Apple. A good example is Dell which has of late introduced some nice designs like the Alienware model. From these improvements, Apple should be wary of what might happen in years to come.
In line with the above information from the market analysis, the management of the company will focus on the following factors within the organization to ensure that it survives the turbulent business moments now and in the future. First, will be to initiate plans through the R & D department to identify in which other sector of the economy the company can make an investment other than the manufacturing industry (Gupta & Prinzinger, 2013). This may be a long-term strategy but it will be used to cover both purposes. The company has to identify within the shortest time possible to spread its risks over a wide range of products and services in its portfolio. For the 90 days, there will be a lot of focus on the suitable investment the company can opt for. A presentation of the report to the Board of Directors would take place after 75 days maximum.
Secondly, in order to stay afloat in the market, the company needs to push for the market absorption of the Iwatch and Apple TV. These are real investments the company has made and with slow market absorption they represent company’s resources tied in an item that can be sold (Gupta & Prinzinger, 2013). This are resources that can be used elsewhere to advance the productivity or efficiency of the company in general.
Also, there is need by the company to maintain market leadership and increase sales since the company at the moment relies on few products in its narrow portfolio. To be able to achieve increased market share, the company will have to increase its online presence through partnering with other market leaders who specialize entirely on pushing products to the market like Amazon Inc (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). Through these companies, Apple will be sure to increase the views on its products which presents potential opportunities to convert to sales (Finkle, & Mallin, 2010). Similarly, more and more partnerships will be sought to increase the physical presence in the streets of major cities. As such, the company intends to add an additional 100 outlets in highly ranked regions as per consumer reports and marketing department’s research. Pushing for the same agenda of increasing sales, the company through its marketing wing will undertake a month long promotion and marketing exercise in major malls and also virtually. The most appropriate promotion method will be to offer discount services on selected items for the period (Finkle & Mallin, 2010).
To assist in further engagement of the consumers, a special team will be charged with receiving opinions and complaints from our customer service department and analyzing these issues to see how the company can capitalize on the desires and expectations of the customers. It is the wish of the management to get the customer more involved in the running of the company especially on service delivery if Apple will want to retain its market leadership in the future (Gupta & Prinzinger, 2013). The medium goal is to invest more in technology advancement to enable the company continuously come up with new products and designs for the customer.
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- Finkle, T. A., & Mallin, M. L. (2010). Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc. Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, 16(7), 31-40.
- Gupta, A., & Prinzinger, J. (2013). Apple, Inc.: Where is it going from here? Journal of Business Case Studies (Online), 9(3), 215-n/a.
- Jemala, M. (2013). Systemic outlook in technology- management trends of best Technology/ICT companies. Organizacija, 46(4), 143-156.
- Sarfraz, H. (2017). Strategic leadership development: Simplified with bloom’s taxonomy. Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(1), 40-47.
- Yu, H. H. (2013). Decoding leadership: How Steve Jobs transformed Apple to spearhead a technological informal economy. Journal of Business and Management, 19(1), 33-44.