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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Exile from Apple

After the failure of the Lisa, Jobs concentrated on developing a cheaper machine with a different OS. The result was the Apple Macintosh (Mac) with a new Mac OS. To develop the Mac, Jobs hired brilliant and young designers and engineers from the industry. Calling the Mac development team 'pirates', Jobs instilled a spirit of entrepreneurship and rebellion in them...

The 'Next' Step

In the time he was away from Apple, Jobs took on new challenges. In September 1985, he, along with some former Apple executives, founded a new company called NeXT Computers Inc. (NeXT) to build an advanced computer for higher education and scientific research.

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Jobs funded the company by selling US$70 million of his Apple stock. Despite the considerable investment he had made in it and eight long years of struggle, NeXT remained a loss making company for Jobs...

Second Coming: Reinventing Apple

When Jobs became Apple's interim CEO, the company was in a death spiral. Jobs felt that Apple's problems stemmed from the company's illogical agenda which included launching a plethora of products without a clearly defined purpose. He set out to address the issues by redefining the company's strategy including developing few products and concentrating on Apple's key markets...

Jobs's Leadership Style

According to industry experts, Jobs was a visionary leader who had the ability to perceive opportunities, see the invisible, and think differently. He was driven, ambitious, and demanding. Some analysts said that Jobs was a resilient and persistent leader who successfully overcame setbacks and challenge...

Where's Apple Headed?

In January 2011, when Jobs took unexpected medical leave for the third time since 2003, there was a growing clamor among the company's shareholders that the Apple board should adopt and disclose a CEO succession planning policy. The secrecy Apple maintained on Jobs's health problems had become a subject of concern for the shareholders and led them to criticize the company's lack of transparency and raise questions on who would succeed Jobs...


Exhibit I: Stock Price Chart of Apple (2003-2011)
Exhibit II: Steve Jobs: A Timeline
Exhibit III: Seven Principles of Innovation Inspired by Steve Jobs
Exhibit IV: Apple's Organizational Chart
Exhibit V: Apple's Selected Financial Data
Exhibit VI: Apple Net Sales by Operating Segment and by Product

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