1. What are the chief elements of Apple’s overall competitive strategy? How well do the pieces fit together? Is the strategy evolving?
2. What are the key elements of Apple’s strategy in computers, personal media players, tablet computers, and smartphones? Are those strategies successful? Explain.
3. What does a competitive strength assessment reveal about Apple’s domestic computer business, as compared to the leaders in the domestic computer industry? Use the methodology in Table 4.3 to support your answer.
4. Does it appear that the company’s competitive positions in personal media players, tablet computers, and smartphones are stronger or weaker than its position in computers? What steps should it take to ensure that the iPad becomes a major contributor to the company’s overall performance?
5. Does it make good strategic sense for Apple to be a competitor in the computer, personal media player, smartphone, watches, and tablet computer industries? Which of the five products lines—computers, tablet computers, personal media players, watches, or smartphones—do you think is most important to Apple’s future growth and profitability? Why? Should any of the product lines be discontinued?
6. What is your assessment of Apple Computer’s financial performance the past three years? (Use the financial ratios in the Appendix of the text as a guide in doing your financial analysis.)
7. What strategic issues confront Apple in 2015? What market or internal circumstances should most concern Tim Cook and the company’s senior leadership team?
8. What recommendations would you make to Apple to address the strategic issues confronting it in 2015 and sustain its impressive growth in revenues and earnings?