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Apple May 9, 2007

Posted by Timothy Li in apple, strategy.
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apple.jpgI dedicated the last little while to a book named Apple, by Jim Carlton.

It’s a history of Apple from 1976 to 1997 – from Jobs to Sculley, to Spindler, to Amelio, and ended when Jobs finished his 1997 Macworld keynote. The bulk of this book focuses on Sculley and Spindler.

While becoming acquainted with a dozen executives’ names such as Del Yocam as well as project names such as Star Trek, there are two improtant motifs in the book, one aided Apple and one hurted Apple. These two things would apply to other companies as well.

Being in a growing industry aided Apple, from 1992 to 1997. While it’s market share dropped dangerously, Apple still managed to maintain a revenue growth, a growth that’s lower than the industry’s overall growth. So my conclusions is that while young entreprenurs will make mistakes somewhere along the way anyways, they are better off making these mistakes in a growing industry than a developed one.

Inaccurate sales forecast hurted Apple, in 1991 and once again in 1997. Building too few PowerBooks in 1991 starved the market, this resulted in losing a lot of frustrated customers who had no choice but to buy Windows laptops. Building too many Performas but not be able to sell them in 1997 put Apple in an even greater danger, with only 700 million cash on hand and over 2 billion worth of products in inventory. The conclusion is that having a good sales manager is more important than ever.