What are the implications of the book’s claims for the CEO of Apple Computer? Do you think international business theories have different implications about what changes in the global environment imply for the CEO of Apple as compared with the major implications implied by the book? ( 1,000 words)
In answering the second assignment, please pretend that you have been asked by the CEO of Apple, who is too busy to read the book himself, to write a short report on the book’s implication for his firm strategy. In other words, you need to think about what changes, if any, Apple should make in light of this book. This part of the assignment is designed to replicate what the type of task you might encounter early in your future career as a manager, since one of the tasks of junior managers is to digest information and provide advice to senior managers who are too busy to read lengthy documents themselves. In this case, your task is to summarise the key point of an important book and then think about the strategic implications for a particular company.
It is not necessary for you to engage in extensive library research about Apple Computer. Assignment No. 2 isn’t an invitation to write an essay about Apple, as the task involves writing a report for the hypothetical CEO of Apple, who clearly knows what his company is all about. However, you should demonstrate that you have done your homework about Apply rather than simply drawing on their general knowledge as a consumer. The markers will reward you for relating the four broad trends discussed in the book to the specific circumstances of Apple. Your first port of call for research about Apple will likely be its company profile in the Hoover’s Database to which the library subscribes (companyId=12644000000000)
Please note that the task set in Assignment 2 involves formulating prescriptive rather than descriptive and predictive statements.
I think that this task would be best accomplished via the following steps:
1) reminding yourself of what the 4 forces are, based on No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends, (Public Affairs, May 2015)
2) finding out what Apple’s current strategy is (i.e., forming a picture of the company)
3) figuring out how each of the 4 forces would likely impact the firm and what the firm should do in response.
Step 1 can be effected using the book. Step 2 involves researching the company. The Hoover’s Report on Apple is an important source, as are relevant materials in the business press (e.g., the Economist and the FT). We would also like students to use primary sources (i.e., documents created by Apple itself) rather than secondary sources (i.e., documents by journalists or other outsiders who are studying Apple). The use of primary sources is the hallmark of first-class qualitative business research.
The firm’s recent Annual Reports will be particularly important in this regard. You can obtain the Annual Report of any public company either from the Investor Relations section of their website or, failing that, the EDGAR database of the SEC. Annual Reports are officially designated as 10-K Forms. (Companies need to file other reports with the SEC, such as quarterly earnings reports, but I would focus on the 10-K documents). Apple files its Annual Reports in late October, so you will want to find the October 2015 Annual Report. The most relevant sections will likely be Item 1 (Description of the Business) and Item 1A (Risk Factors). These sections of an Annual Report are designed to explain the overall nature of the firm in non-technical language. You will also want to look at the net sales and net profits for each Operating Segment. Apple uses a matrix structure (as described in lecture 8 in MKIB152), so revenues and profits are reported by both geographical region and by product category. For instance, this approach allows you to determine quite quickly that sales in the Americas were $93.8 billion, while worldwide sales of iPhones were $155 billion. Obviously many of the iPhones were sold in the Americas.