AIB Featured Business Apple
If you take a minute to think about how you listen to music, communicate with friends, take photographs or type documents – chances are you have used an Apple product to do so at least once in your life. Apple Inc. is one of the few brands that has impacted the world on such a global level. Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, Apple has gone on to earn titles such as the “world’s most valuable brand”. At the time of founding, Steve Jobs was a 21-year old living with his parents. Together in Jobs’ garage, the trio created the first Apple Computer, the ‘Apple I’. This went on the market for $666.66, or $2,763 in 2015 dollars according to Wikipedia, and things only grew from there.
To gain an understanding into why Apple has grown on such a large scale, its product lines should be examined. As a multinational technology company, Apple is responsible for the design, development and sales of consumer electronics, computer software and online services. Its best-known products are Mac personal computers, the iPod media player, the iPhone, the iPad tablet and the Apple Watch. In addition, Apple boasts its own software including iOS and OS X operating systems, iTunes media player, Safari web browser and more. Where Apple sees continuous demand is in its new product releases, which millions of loyal customers jump at the chance of owning.
During its first five years of operation, Apple experienced exponential growth with revenues doubling roughly every four months. To put this into perspective for you, it is reported that sales went from $775,000 to $111 million between September 1977 and September 1980. This success was not without its challenges however – in 1985, a ‘power struggle’ developed between Steve Jobs and then-CEO John Sculley. The Apple board instructed Sculley to ‘contain Jobs and limit his ability’ to launch costly initiatives. Rather than follow Sculley’s instructions, Jobs attempted to oust him from his role, a move which resulted in Jobs being removed from his managerial duties.
Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT Inc. the same year, building NeXT into its own successful organisation. It wasn’t until years later in 1996 when Apple’s CEO Gil Amelio chose to purchase NeXT and re-hire Jobs as an advisor. Only a year after, Amelio was ousted after three-year record-low stock prices, and Jobs was placed into the role of interim CEO. It was during this time that Jobs restructured Apple and returned it to the innovative organisation we know today. One of Steve Jobs’ most famous quotes encompasses just that, stating, “innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower”.
From there, Apple experienced many more years of success before Jobs had to step down as CEO due to his battle with cancer. In 2011, Apple announced that Jobs had passed away, truly marking the end of an era. Today’s Apple Inc. is the world’s largest technology company by total assets. In 2014, Apple became the first American company to be valued at over US$700 billion. It employs over 115,000 full-time permanent employees, has over 450 retail stores around the world, and enjoys a high level of brand loyalty. Apple’s story is a fantastic reminder of the importance of continuous innovation, no matter how successful you may be.
What do you think?
Were you aware of Apple’s remarkable business journey? I am very interested to hear from readers, in particular about what inspires them most about this story. Steve Jobs proves that no matter what setbacks you encounter – incredible success is still possible. Comment below and share your views.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: Wikipedia; Time; BrainyQuote; Financial Post
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