The Rise of Apple

By William P. Barnett, Debra Schifrin
2016 | Case No. SM260 | Length 12 pgs.
Between 2000 and 2016 Apple introduced a number of new products and services that dramatically expanded the company’s scope well beyond its traditional market position in computers. Over that period, the direction of the company changed and evolved almost as dramatically. This note summarizes the major events along the way and how the Apple leadership spoke of these changes. Apple’s new products and services included the launches of iTunes, the iPod, the iTunes Store, iTunes for Microsoft Windows, the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple Music. The company also changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple in 2007, reflecting the company’s growth and evolution.

Learning Objective

The learning objective of the case is to show that strategy, and the ability to think strategically, are essential for effective leadership. Students will be able to identify Apple’s strategy at key points in time and then identify how that strategy shifted as Apple’s leadership discovered new opportunities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how Apple’s willingness to re-define the company’s strategy helped it to take advantage of these opportunities.
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