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A Is For Apple

>> Saturday, August 13, 2011

Apple has overthrown Exxon to be crowned the most valuable public company in the world.

The amazing thing is that Apple was close to bankruptcy 14 years ago, and despite the financial turmoil that has been plaguing the world this past 3 years, Apple shares have continued to defy gravity. I remembered that there was even a report that Apple holds more reserves that the US government.

What has made Apple so successful that we could learn from this awesome company?

Apple's blast off point was the highly acclaimed hit of the iPod. They marketed it as a status symbol, it became a "must have", it was cool and it is the clear choice when picking a mp3 player. There were dozens of players in the market already, but Apple somehow was able to capture the imagination and created so much buzz about its players. Some say is the quality of music, others the sleek design and user interface. Whatever it was, it took over the whole market.

Riding on its success, it tried to break into the mobile phone market with the iPhone. There was already so many heavy weights in that industry: Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, HTC, just to name a few. Who would even dare to stand up against these big boys without any sufficient arsenal. Apple innovated, they created a platform rather than a phone in particular. It allowed users to write their own Apps, and like Wikipedia, the world responded and flooded the market with all types of Apps that only the imagination is the limit. Apple is a classic example of "Blue Ocean Strategy", it is a book about innovating and finding new markets that never existed.

To further transform, they developed the iPad. It was a tablet PC. It was not the first in the market, but many others launched unsuccessfully. So what made the difference? Apple dreamed of uses for it, areas which the initial few never thought about. Now, those who have one, swear by it and cannot live without it, they cannot recall what life was like before they had one. Apple also enjoy so much free advertisements. Whenever a company develops an App on the Apple platform, the company boasts about it, release print ads, feature it and everyone will have to get an Apple to use that App.

With Steve Jobs, the man who once even accepted $1 as salary for being CEO, at the helm, it is only predictable that he will dream of another unpredictable device to tap into a new or existing market and revolutionize it.

Apple has indeed set a precedence. The top company has traditionally been built on brick and mortar physical assets like land, steel, oil, etc. Apple has relied on none of these except for ideas and a winning marketing strategy. Innovation has become the new economy and it is not bound by physical constrains.


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