Individual Case study
September 30, 2009
What were Apples competitive advantages?
The basis of all of Apple’s competitive advantage stems from differentiation. In the
Beginning they succeeded because they produced the first “relatively simply machine that people could use out of the box.”(Slind) They were the market leader for the first few years because they were the only company offering such a machine with high tech graphics and ease of use. Once IBM entered the PC market in ’84 Apple’s market share fell drastically due to IBM’s “open” system that was easily cloned by others creating even more competition for Apple.
The differentiation that occurred in the early years of Macintosh was from its unique components and designs and its own proprietary operating system. Early analysts considered Apples products to be more versatile than IBM’s due to features such as “plug and play” components.
During John Sculley’s stint at Apple, he made a comment that shows how much Apple was differentiated from the competition by stating, “ we were increasingly viewed as the the ‘BMW’ of the computer industry.”(p.3). Even though their approach to differentiation seemed to have its ups and downs throughout the past three decades , it has taken a giant leap forward with the advent of ITunes, IPods and Iphones. Even though they became market leaders in iPods and they became Apple’s number one cash crop in the last few years Apple still wanted to be known for computers as well. Apple highlighted features to differentiate them from other PCs while also emphasizing their interoperability with other machines.
Apple was clearly known for being much differentiated and I believe that this is also part of the reason that their computers don’t see as well as regular “PCs”. They are so much differentiated that people are reluctant to switch from something that is all around to something that is less known....