Essay by stxgirlUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2009

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Apple systems introduced their first computer, the Apple I, in 1976. The company was started by two high school friends, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, and they collaborated to sell Steve Wozniak's invention. Apple began with the mission to "change the world through technology." More specifically, the company sought out to make the personal computer an accessible and affordable device to the mass market. The company has survived the booms and the busts of the computer industry through new innovations in both software and hardware that has differentiated itself from its competitors. Apple's current strategy is to sell its "Mac" products to customers who aren't satisfied with the traditional "IBM" compatible personal computers. Apple looks for customers who want a computing alternative that doesn't rely on computers that are run by Microsoft software programs. Apple has targeted educational institutions and businesses that want something different than the standard IBM clone.

Apple has focused on selling the low end eMac to schools and the high end PowerMac to the multimedia industry. They have segmented their product lines into portable and desktop computers and are segmented into upper and lower lines which are reflected in their selling price.

Between the years of 1980 and 2001, Apple slid along a turbulent slope of declining market share and profit erosion where it lost its leadership position and now lags as a market follower with a mere 3% total market share. Apple's inability to defend its market share and leadership status can be directly attributed to one general, yet prevailing driver. Throughout this fleeting tenure, Apple lacked a clear mission and competitive strategy that drove the value creating activities of the firm. Between these years, Apple morphed itself between alternating cost leadership and premium priced differentiation strategies. Four CEO's took the helm between...