Performance and growth of organizations through efficiency improvement, quality, productivity, market share and competitive positioning can be referred to as innovation of a firm or organizations. When an organization introduces a new product or a method successfully and is able to combine, embody and synthesis knowledge in original, relevant, processes and valued new products or services, then it can be said to be innovative. (Lueke & Kaltz 2003).
Innovation usually begins with new creative ideas and the successful implementation of the ideas within the organization. Introduction of a new product, methods of production and opening new markets are some of economic innovations that an organization can undertake. Some types of innovation are marketing innovation where new marketing methods and improvement of the existing occurs, process, product and services, financial and business model innovation. (Birchall &Tovstiga 2005).
Innovative firms usually have a better stand in the market as compared to others in the same industry because they are always in the front line when it comes to products, markets, competition and technology.
The Apple Company is one of the organizations which has been successful in many of its innovations and continues to bring more innovations into the world.
According to (Bellis 2008) the Apple was started way back in 1976 when Wozniak’s and Jobs started working on the Apple 1 and was finished by April 1976 and introduced for selling in 1979. There was subsequent production of Apple II and III and the company made great improvements until mid 1980’s when the company experienced financial and managerial problems especially between Jobs and the then president of the company Mr. Sculley. Job resigned and Sculley signed a contact with Microsoft, a move which changed the computer industry forever. From the beginning the company was referred to as Apple Computer Inc but in 2007, it dropped the word ‘computer’ from its corporate name due to the company’s ongoing expansion into market of consumer electronics in addition to its initial focus which was on computers, (Markoff, 2007).
The main focus of Apple compute Inc is to design and manufacture consumer electronics goods and closely related software products for computers. The Apple develops, sells and supports many personal computers, mobile phones, portable media players, computer hardware, computer software and other hardware accessories, (Deutschman 2000). The organization operates almost 200 stores in different countries and states such as Alabama, California, Arizona, New York, Florida, New Mexico and Hawaii and has an on line store for selling hardware and software products.
Apple has an iTunes store which produces music, music videos, movies, television programs pod casts, audio books and ipod games which can be downloaded from the computer. Its best known software products include the ilife suite of multimedia and creative software, Mac OS X operating system, and the final cut Studio which is a suite of professional audio and film industry software products, (Markoff 2007).
Currently, the organization has over 20,000 employees in the world; both permanent and temporary and has annual sales which add up to almost 24 billion U.S dollars. Apple company has gained a unique reputation due to a variety of reasons which range from the company philosophy of comprehensive aesthetic designs to the distinctive campaigns which it carries out in its advertisements. The unique reputation is also from its consumer electronics industry where it offers consumers with a variety of electronics gadgets for different purposes and due to this, the company has a strong consumer base specifically in the United States which is very devoted to the brands of the company and the company itself.
What context does the firm operate in?
The Apple Inc company is a private company and operates in the context of a private company in the United States.
What does the firm do?
The main products of Apple are software based products and hardware based products.
Apple’s best known hardware products includes Macintosh which is a line of personal computers, ipod which a line of media players which are portable, and the iphone product.
The company introduced the Apple Macintosh family in 1984 and today, it make professional, consumer and educational computers in the world. imac, was the first desktop computer to be introduced by Apple in 1998 and it is the one which made the company to revive its fortunes from its previous downfall. The company’s consumer desktop computer, Mac mini was introduced in January 2005 and it was designed mainly to entice and motivate windows users to move to Mac computer. The company sells three different lines of portable computers which are; Macbook which is available in black and white variants and has a wide screen of 13 inch. The second is Macbook Air which is 13.3 inch LED back lit wide screen and is an ultra-thin, ultra portable note book. The final one is the Macbook Pro which is a professional portable computer which can be an alternative for Macbook.
The company also sells a variety of computer accessories for the Mac computer which include the Airport wireless networking products, Apple cinema display, Time capsule, the apple wireless keyboard computer keyboard, the Apple USB modem and the mighty mouse.
The company develops its own operating system to run on all the Macs and it develops independent computer software titles for its operating system which is referred to as OS X. Apple also offers a wide range of professional software titles which includes the operating system Mac OS X Server, a remote system management application, Apple remote desktop, Java web application server, WebObjects and Xsan which is a storage area network file system for computers. Apple also offers on line services such as.Mac Homepage,.Mac groups,.Mac Mail,.Mac idisk,.Mac Backup and the.Mac Sync as well as a learning center which has on line tutorials.
Why is the firm innovative?
Apple Inc is a very innovative company due to many reasons. In an era when most of the technologies which have come up are tightening their operations to a market which is growing at a slower rate, Apple Inc is still forging ahead in terms of innovation. The company has combined its technical knowhow with new concepts and has come up with the most influential technological product which has not been seen in years. It has also maintained its highly held reputation for making easy-to-use desktop computers which are the most elegant in the market. Much if not most of the credit for this incredible performance by Apple Inc can be attributed to the Chief Executive Officer Steven Jobs who was the founder of the company in 1976 and although he was outed in 1985, he made a triumphant come back in 1997 and made the company to be where it is now. The Chief Executive Officer has also got a great executive team and he gives most of the management his powers so that he can concentrate on new ideas. He also meets the OS X teams on weekly basis so that they can be able to do their ilife applications in the best way possible.(Schmitt 2003).
Consumers of the Apple products made the company to become more innovative. this is because they needed more and more of their products and as a result the company was forced to be more innovative so as to meet the needs of the consumers. For example those who were using the music systems and TV’s needed more memory space to store all of their items in the same place therefore pushing the company to come up with new ideas.
political impacts in the world have also had great impact on the Apple company, Its markets have also been biased in some places due to political reasons therefore affecting it in its innovations. For example, the markets for the company’s products are great the the democratic countries and in democrats areas and also in some parts of the European Union. The U.K currency has also had an impact on the company and its innovations. The company has therefore been more innovative on the markets where they have a higher demand depending on the political influences in the areas.
The company was and is very innovative due to having a product-oriented culture. The company also had great engineers and great employees who pulled the company together and made the many achievements because without the gravitational force which pulled them together, it would have ended up with great pieces of technology floating all over and without gaining much out of them. The Apple firm is also innovative because their primary goal is to make the world’s best PC’s but not to be the biggest and the richest company in the world like the way other companies do and end up failing in their innovativeness. Another goal which make the company innovative is because it has designed a way of always gaining profits while keeping on making very great products for the consumers which they will be proud of. (Schmitt 2003).
Although there was a time when these two goals which makes the company innovative crushed, the company is now as innovative as ever.
Apple Inc is innovative and has been able to manage its innovation because it hires people; permanent employees, temporary employees and professionals whose main aim is to make the best things in the world which is one of the goals of the Apple company. The employees are very hardworking and there are times when they extend their shifts to the night and weekends and do not even see their families and through this, the company is able to maintain its innovativeness. The employees are also very caring and they go to an extend of working through Christmas so that they can ensure that the tooling for the products being produced as well as the services are right so that the products and services can finally come out being as best as they can be.
The Apple company is also innovative because it does not have a fixed system which is meant to dictate what people should do. The company has set a way in which the employees can meet anywhere or make calls at any time of the night to give others a new idea which make things better or give a show of danger which might come up if things are carried out in a certain way. Employees ensure that they do not get into the wrong track therefore they are able to maintain their innovation, Apple Inc company is successful and innovative because it focuses on its design more that technology. This design is not the physical design mostly, but the most basic interaction of the piece of technology which they produce or manufacture with the corporeal human intellect.
The company is usually not the first to develop a new technology, this is because it was not the first to to create an i pod which is a portable media player, the Apple television was not the first media box and also the iphone was not the first smart phone in the market. However, Apple takes a specific product line, destroys the old and tired conventions, and then bedazzles the world market with a unique view on the product which has already bee in existence while the other companies are left wondering how Apple managed to come up with a new ides which is not new after all, (Burney 2007).
Was the firm as innovative as it claimed?
Innovativeness of Apple Inc may not be as innovative in the sense of inventing many of the technologies which are prominent in the technology world, but Apple does is to clearly and so well realize the potential in a technology and therefore go ahead to frame it in such a way that the customers and the people in general discover that they really need that instrument or gadget which Apple has produced from the previous technologies. Apple Inc can therefore be termed as cultural innovators more than technological innovators because they have a great sense and ideas of where technology is going. Apple instead of asking where you are going today’, it asks where you are going tomorrow and then helps the industry to go there. (O’Rielly 2003).
The Apple company is rated at the top twenty of the innovation index of the companies which are said to be the best innovators in the world. Despite the low expectations of people for the company to earn low revenue, the company earns many times of their expectations. Data shows that the company has over 40% unit growth and revenue growth respectively in the Apple’s best quarter of the year. In the just ended fiscal year, the company reported earnings of 7.51 billion dollars and show a net profit of 1.05 billion dollars. This shows that the company has increased its shares by more that 40% while its net profits had gone up by more than 35% compared to the previous earnings. (Levy 2007).
The company is also innovative because their products are user friendly. This is so because when a person is stuck while using their products, there is an easy way to figure it out because they have been designed to be able to easily solve a problem and this is usually very rare with other products from the other companies.
Was the firm’s innovation adopted by other firms?
The innovations of Apple company have been adopted by many other companies in the technology industry with an aim of becoming as best and trying to improve their company’s competitiveness and revenues. Some companies even go ahead to hijack Apple’s fresh ideas which have been developed by the company and resell them as a Microsoft or Intel’s innovations. Other companies in the industry has also tried to adopt the innovations of Apple so that they can be able to get a better market by introducing new technologies which try to compete with it. However, Apple uses other already invented technologies to better it and as a result the other companies are not able to achieve the level in which Apple has gained its innovativeness. (Saxenian 1994).
What impact did the innovation have on the firms competitiveness and other aspects of management?
The innovations of Apple Inc had a great impact on its competitiveness. Apple can be termed as a market innovator as well as a market leader. The most current market leadership of Apple Inc is their realization that the productivity applications means application for managing of the personal digital assets which are composed of videos, photos and video for consumers, due to this, the rest of the companies are left behind since the Apple has a better way of being ahead of technology. Apple therefore has a better competitiveness edge than its competitors since it is able to meet better standards and attract more clients.
Apple is innovative because it is driven by the inner conviction about the outer world which was manifested by the C.E.O Steve Jobs and the people who are around him as a result, it has had a better competitive edge as compared to its competitors like Microsoft. Apple has created a transformational change and has created a customer advantage, Apple has changed the way people see music, store music, listen to music, discard music or the way they use their technologies. In other words, Apple has changed the way people manage music and videos and due to this more customers are more loyal to it and therefore making it better positioned in the market than its competitors. (O’Reilley 2003).
Innovativeness of Apple has also been able to help it achieve competitiveness because it is able to describe the needs of the customer and deliver them the way the customer wants. It builds a notion of changing the customers landscape because they use a structured thinking and a trans-formative experience for customers and they not only rely on the customers and focus groups inputs but the inputs of all the stakeholders and as a result they gain better ideas and competitive edge in the market.
Innovation also helps the Apple managers to re-frame the entire opportunity space which is available from the computer company to Music Company and therefore making the company join the entertainment industry and getting more customers.
How long was its innovative practices of advantage to the firm?
Innovation of Apple company has been an advantage to the firm since its establishment back in the 1970’s. Apple was able to come up with many great ideas in technology such as the Apple I, II and III computers which in the days were very valuable and were used by many persons. Its innovativeness helped it since then and has continued to be a major boost in Apple operations. This innovation in the company’s operations has been persistent throughout and even when the company at one time went down in the 1980’s and its innovation seemed to end, it recuperated back in 1995 when Jobs was taken back and went on to come up with new innovations and improvement of the existing ones which helped it back into its feet and become one of the best innovation firms in the world, (Schmitt 2003).
In conclusion, Apple Company has experienced a lot of innovations since it was started and as a result it has been able to achieve a lot of success in its business. Apple has been able to capture customers’ interest and as a result the customers have become loyal because the Apple products are user friendly. Apple has also achieved innovation in its operation by using the already existing technology and improving it in such a way that it seems new and its competitors are left in wonder as to how Apple is able to achieve so much in terms of competition, market, revenue and the customers base.
Innovation comes with many advantages such as involvements and use of great ideas and its persistence in forms helps them to be always on the lead. Although Apple may not have been the innovative in the sense of inventing technologies, it has been able to use the already invented technologies to come up with new ideas and products such as ipods and televisions.
Apple has been able to achieve its competitiveness due to its innovation because it has been able to enter into the consumers market with style, and are able to give products which are customers oriented. The world looks up to Apple to come up with more innovations which will be of greater help and more customer oriented.
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