With the industry and popular press ranting and raving over the announcments at last weekis MACWORLD Expo, readers are left with conflicting perspectives as to the actual state of the company. BusinessWeek got a first hand look at how Apple does things, and came away with the idea that Apple is indeed heading in the right direction.
Sited most often for their streamlined business model and industry leading inventory control, Apple finds itself in a position that many other computer manufacturers would be envious of. They have an incredibly loyal following, less than one dayis worth of excessive inventory, and line of buzz generating and high performance products, and Steve Jobs at the helm.
Although Jobs has often been criticized for his methodology, even the most die-hard Mac haters have a difficult time forming intelligent arguments knocking the bottom line success. By simply looking through stores and catalogs, it is apparent that the multi-colored iMacs have changed the way people think about computers specifically, and consumer electronics in general. From phones to radios to the HandSpring Visor, iMac colors are everywhere.
The BusinessWeek article gives Apple high marks for what they have done, as well as some inside information as to how Apple, and Jobs in particular, function on a daily basis. According to the article:
For years, Apple seemed to define gravity. Now itis defying it. Credit Jobsis Midas touch with design and marketing. Both Dell and Compaq recently scrapped colorful iMac knockoffs just months after they were introduced, proving that only Apple knows how to make fashion count when it comes to a computer. And, thanks to the coolness factor, Apple gets away with charging up to 25% more than its competitors for a machine with similar capabilities. That helped give it a juicy gross profit margin of 29.8% in the most recent quarter, tops in the PC segment.
But then, Apple has always been able to market circles around its rivals. Only this time, thereis far more to Apple than curvy products and groovy ad campaigns. Get a load of this: The company known for its incorrigible, free-spirited, free-spending ways has become a master of operating efficiencies. Jobs has slashed expenses from $8.1 billion in 1997 to $5.7 billion in 1999 by outsourcing manufacturing, trimming inventories, shifting 25% of sales to an online store, and slicing the number of distributors from the double digits to two. That, combined with the new products, has won back allies. On July 18, three years after dropping the Apple line, retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. said it will once again carry Mac gear. Says CEO W. Alan McCollough: iiMuch to Steveis credit, Apple has found its way again--and then some.ii
For a very interesting perspective on Appleis future and past, read the full BusinessWeek article.