Apple, Inc.: Steve Jobs's Strategic Leadership

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN081
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1998-2011
Pub Date : 2012
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Apple Inc.
Industry : Consumer Electronics; Computers
Countries : Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Steve Jobs is one of the best examples of a strategic leader who is willing to invest in new innovative products and services, that are built on the concept of using existing technologies to create "customer and market" based businesses. The interesting thing is that even when he fails he admits his mistakes and tries again. He is clearly the Thomas Edison of our time, since Edison always built on existing technologies and has his share of failures, along with major successes."

-Bill Rothschild, CEO and founder of Rothschild Strategies Unlimited LLC1 in 2010.

"He was not the world's greatest manager. In fact, he could have been one of the world's worst managers. He was very petulant. He was very brittle. He could be very, very mean to people at time."

-Biographer Walter Isaacson, in 2011.

The iconic founder of technology major Apple Inc. (Apple), Steve Jobs (Jobs), passed away on October 5, 2011, aged 56. He was succeeded by Timothy Cook2 (Cook) as CEO. The transition was smooth but but analysts wondered whether the company would continue to thrive without Jobs's visionary leadership. They were apprehensive whether Apple, considered synonymous with Jobs, would continue to break new ground without him. "For loyal Apple users, the cult of Steve Jobs s intertwined with the success of the company and he is the brand. So how Apple goes about maintaining that will need to be addressed. It will be interesting to see to what extent Apple will codify the things Steve Jobs believed in," said Faisal Siddiqui, a consultant at Figtree.3 Jobs founded Apple in 1977. For over three decades, Apple led the global technology market by launching products that redefined the industry.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Jobs's strategic leadership and management style made Apple an iconic brand. He was widely credited with having saved a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy during the 1990s and for having played a key role in the development of many innovative products. According to experts, Jobs was a creative genius who revolutionized the technology industry by creating some path-breaking products such as the Macintosh (Mac) (1984), the iPod (2001), the iPhone (2007), and the iPad (2010). Jobs was seen as the source of Apple's innovation as it was he who inspired the employees to come out with unconventional products by thinking differently. The way he marketed and sold products helped turn the company into a pop-culture phenomenon. Under Jobs's leadership, Apple's market value grew from about US$ 5 billion in 2000 to US$ 351 billion in 2011. "He taught all of us how to transform technology into magic," said John Sculley (Sculley), former CEO of Apple.

Introduction Contd... - Next Page>>

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1] Rothschild Strategies Unlimited LLC is an administrative management and general management consulting services firm located in Norwalk, Connecticut.
2] Before being named CEO, Tim Cook was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and was responsible for all of the company's worldwide sales and operations. He also headed Apple's Macintosh division.
3] Figtree is an independent creative consultancy with offices in London, Paris, and Hong Kong.


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