The Apple Strategy

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Apple Inc., the inventors of the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iTunes, should maybe throw a coming-of-age party, as it has literally managed to top it all. Being in the tech page since the Macintosh came to the world, it came on the forefront only in the recent past, since the all-important iPhone hit the market.

The Apple dominance in the market is something all the other tech companies are trying to catch up with. With several clones of the original iPhone and iPad, it is evident that Apple is hard to reckon with.

During the third quarter ended June 25, Apple reported sales of 20.34 million iPhones, a 142 per cent growth, over the same period a year-ago quarter, across the globe.

Apple has become a sort ofWal-Martof techland, able to drive tough bargains with suppliers as it builds dominant positions in key device markets. One of its advantages is delivering sleek products at price points that don’t break the bank. And gadgets tend to get cheaper over time, which means Apple will have to squeeze suppliers more if it wants to retain its profits.

Apple, now second only toExxon Mobilin terms of market value, wields its power with companies big and small.Adobe Systems, a software giant and maker of Flash, has found it challenging and expensive to penetrate Apple’s world.

Apple faces stiff competition in the phone market, primarily fromGoogleAndroid phones made inexpensively out of Asia by companies likeSamsung ElectronicsandHTC. But Apple is countering with cheaper versions of its iPhone.

Tablet makers aren’t faring much better. CLSA, a research shop, estimates that Apple sold about 9.25 iPads for every Google Android tablet in the most recent quarter. This, despite a proliferation of new tablets coming from Research In Motion,Hewlett-Packard, Samsung andMotorola Mobility. As Apple has romped to record highs, Motorola Mobility shares have slid to $23 from $34 in January and Hewlett-Packard shares have dropped to $35 from $49.

Talking about competition, a new table is about to make its entry in the ‘tablet’ sector. Toshiba will soon deliver its first Android tablet, the Toshiba Thrive. This model will certainly be worthy of consideration by would-be tablet buyers, thanks in part to how Toshiba tries to bridge the gap between laptop and tablet. The Thrive will be the latest in this summer’s parade of tablets, following the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the HP TouchPad to market.

Perhaps the most disruptive aspect of Apple’s strategy is the way it is reshaping the personal computer space. Apple’s various Mac products are selling decently, but the emergence of the iPad has changed the PC calculus.

Apple will definitely have to work hard to keep its market share strong, and looks like it is working on it, with unnamed sources reporting that the iPhone5 and iPad 3 could hit the market in October. Way to go, Apple!

Sources: WSJ, unwiredview, guardianspress, pcworld

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