Characteristics of Business Leadership: Steven Jobs, Apple Computer Co. Essay Example
Characteristics of Business Leadership: Steven Jobs, Apple Computer Co. Essay Example

Characteristics of Business Leadership: Steven Jobs, Apple Computer Co. Essay Example

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Steven Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computer, established the company's initial strategy. This strategy involved targeting specific sub-segments in the market that Apple believed it could effectively serve. By addressing the needs of these users and focusing on them, Apple successfully built a loyal customer base for its products (Fortune, 2011).

The senior executives at Apple Computer, led by Jobs, emphasized the importance of prioritizing customers, which played a significant role in the company's initial strategy and subsequent success. However, this customer focus had a unique approach. Jobs, along with Apple Computer, firmly believed in the superiority of their products and business strategy compared to their competitors. This unwavering belief led them to consistently maintain their positions throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

This approach resulted in creating a strong customer loyalty within a shrinking market


share. Apple Computer's message to customers was essentially "follow our way or go without Apple Computer." This approach initiated the transition of Apple Computer from being a dominant player in the computer market to a more niche or boutique position (Adam Lashinsky, 2011). Following the highly successful launch of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs lacked the adaptability to effectively handle a changing external environment. As a consequence, Apple Computer lost its competitive edge to IBM. Additionally, Jobs was eventually forced out of the company he had helped establish (Philip Elmer-DeWitt, 2011).

Apple Chair Steven Jobs believed that the solutions to Apple's strategic problems lied in the development and introduction of new products with advanced capabilities to meet the evolving market demands. However, despite Jobs' creative genius, he struggled to accept the fact that Apple Computers lacked the ability to set industry standards

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During the period when Jobs was CEO in 1983, decision-making at Apple was highly centralized. This centralization proved detrimental as the key decision-makers were unwilling to embrace the significant strategic changes imposed on the company by external forces. Consequently, Apple found itself in a strategic predicament, despite its strong financial position and inability to effectively compete with its new wave of rivals." (Fortune, 2011; Williams, C.)

, 2011). Apple, despite its lack of flexibility in adapting to the changing market demands and inability to maintain its dominance against competitors, possesses strong attributes. One of these attributes is Apple's focus on mastering basic business principles and marketing tools such as giving presentations and maintaining liquidity. Apple's approach to presenting involves rigorous rehearsal, with Steve Jobs spending hours perfecting his timing and ensuring synchronization with slides. This is especially important in team presentations. BusinessWeek notes that Steve Jobs' presentations appear effortless due to the extensive rehearsal.

When working in a team, it is crucial for the members to practice their presentation together. This practice assists them in enhancing their arguments, incorporating any missed crucial points, and avoiding timing errors (People, 2011).

Apple highly values having a strong cash position. It demonstrates the company's ability to fulfill its obligations and invest in short-term projects without relying on borrowing money. This financial strength provides Apple with flexibility. Moreover, Apple's absence of long-term debt contributes to its financial stability.

Apple benefits from its lack of long-term debt, providing flexibility in funding new projects and utilizing debt financing for major endeavors. This absence of debt also enhances Apple's ability to secure short-term financing, essential in the current economic climate. Additionally, Apple's renowned brand recognition and

reputation for innovation and quality further contribute to its brand value, enabling the company to command higher prices for its products. Moreover, the loyal customer base, particularly for its computing products, ensures a continuous stream of future sales.

The company's dedication to research and development, including financial support and a strong drive for innovative products and technologies, is crucial in enhancing its branding and continuously generating new products for the future. Jobs' visionary nature and insistence on perfection have arguably made him the most influential inventor of the digital era (People Magazine, 2011). A former Apple employee recalls attending a meeting with Jobs where he was considering the appeal of Mini Coopers (an acquaintance was selling them at the time). Eventually, Jobs concluded that their small size gave them a cool factor, leading him to realize that Apple needed to excel in metal manufacturing.

At the time, most computer makers were using plastic, but Steve Jobs knew that to achieve a smaller size, metal had to be used exceptionally well. Apple's notebooks made of titanium-turned-aluminum became popular and successful. The latest MacBook Air models are considered perfect examples of the ideal combination of design, price, and performance (Fortune, 2011). Additionally, Jobs played a significant role in revolutionizing personal computing with the Apple II and introducing the "post-PC" era through the sleek iPad made of glass and aluminum. Despite being a promising concept, tablet computing had been hindered by poor execution until recently.

Microsoft and its partners, as well as Apple with their Newton in the early-1990s, have both made unsuccessful attempts to create tablet-laptop hybrids that failed to generate user interest. Currently, Android has a

larger market share than both Microsoft and Apple. However, it is crucial to acknowledge Steve Jobs for his groundbreaking contribution to the cell phone industry. In 2007, Apple's iPhone revolutionized smartphones with its sleek design, large and responsive touchscreen, and superior operating system that outperformed Palm and RIM's efforts (Fortune 2011).

According to an insider, Jobs played a crucial role in the initial development process of the iPhone, which had a cost of $150 million. He also insisted on having unusual control over the device's construction alongside Cingular executives, resulting in the absence of an AT&T or Verizon logo on the iPhone. Furthermore, Jobs introduced Visual Voicemail as a replacement for traditional voicemail, providing a more interactive "push to listen" interface.

One of Jobs' notable contributions to the global business world is his innovation of an integrated hardware, software, and services ecosystem. This concept creates a closed universe that prioritizes tight integration for an enhanced user experience.

A significant example illustrating this is iTunes: users have access to purchasing and listening to millions of songs and albums while being able to transfer them to their iPod or iPhone. The App Store functions similarly by offering a wide variety of applications for Apple's idevices.

Nowadays, companies in different industries like automobile and gaming aim to establish their own ecosystems.

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