In fact, empirical evidence shows us that realized strategy tends to be about 10-30 percent of intended strategy. What really determines strategy is the "patterns of decisions that emerge from individual managers adapting to changing external circumstances and the ways in which the intended strategy was interpreted." What is Apple’s mission and strategy today’ Apple’s mission is to deliver a highly innovative and superior solution to a customer’s personal computing needs. Apple’s present day competitive strategy is a return to differentiation. Key elements to this strategy are an emphasis on design, service, branding through advertising, and quality. Drivers needed to attain these objectives are through the firm’s unique marketing abilities, engineering skills, creativity, and R&. D (Apple Computer, 2005).
Although the company has excelled in delivery and order processing, it still has yet to prove its operational efficiency. Therein lies Apple’s principal weakness. In the past, Apple has failed to reconcile the added cost of differentiation with operational efficiencies in production and distribution. Apple has also shown competencies in building brand reputation and generating buzz for its products. Their marketing campaigns have been successful and remain a value added activity. Financially, the company remains liquid with substantial cash reserves and is not highly leveraged in debt (Apple Financial, 2006).
Apple’s differentiation strategy is uniquely aligned with the changing dynamics of the industry. Firstly, Apple owns the only viable alternative to a "Wintel" machine. All other major computer manufacturers are only slightly differentiated because they are forced to conform to the "Wintel" standards of an Intel chip and Microsoft operating system. They are limited to differentiating themselves based on accessibility, service, and marketing.
Apple has successfully differentiated itself as the only viable alternative to the PC standard. The two major forces that have affected market share loss are the misconception that Apple computers are incompatible with available software for Wintel machines and buying one will result in losses in functionality. This can be overcome with aggressive marketing campaigns in which Apple has demonstrated value added competencies. The second major factor contributing to Apple loss in market share is the unmatched price erosion from the PC market. Apple has failed to narrow the gap because of its operational inefficiencies. If Apple can narrow this price gap and overcome the negative software perception, it will undoubtedly regain market share (Bateman – Snell 2004).
Mission, Long-Range Objectives, Current Strategy, and Performance
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 (FEI 2006).
Apple began with the mission to "change the world through technology." More specifically, the company sought