Apple Inc., 2008
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February 29, 2008
Harvard Business School
In January 2007, three decades after its incorporation, Apple Computer shed the second word in its name and became Apple Inc. With that move, the company signaled a fundamental shift away from its historic status as a vendor of the Macintosh personal computer (PC) line. Mac sales remained vital to Apple’s future, but they now accounted for less than half of its total revenue. The company’s line of iPod media players, its iTunes online content store and its newly launched iPhone mobile handset business made up increasingly large shares of its operations. In early 2008, on the strength of sky-rocketing sales in those areas and by resurgent sales of Macintosh products, Apple’s revenues and its stock price reached record levels. The case explores the sustainability of Apple’s current business model, one that positioned the company simultaneously in the PC industry and the consumer electronics industry. While Apple enjoyed a high market share in digital media players and in online music sales, it remained a niche player in the worldwide PC industry. The case examines the history of Apple’s strategic moves under the leadership of CEOs Jobs, Sculley, Spindler, Amelio, and (again) Jobs; places those moves in the context of structural features of the evolving PC industry; and covers the iPod and iPhone businesses at considerable length.
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Apple Inc., 2008
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