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Apple Ethics Case Study

Essay by   •  July 8, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,814 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,251 Views

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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

Apple Computer was formed in April 1976 by 25-year-old Steve Wozniak and 21-year old Steve Jobs--both college dropouts. After selling a van for some extra start-up cash,

the two set up shop in the Jobs' family garage at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos, California, to start building computers. The ideas and early innovation techniques that emerged from this location would set the foundation for building one of the most important and globally effective technology companies the world has ever seen. In fact, some diehard Apple fans come from all over the globe just to pose for pictures in front of this now-famous garage.

Apple Computer stands out from similar companies with their unconventional business ideas that constantly redefine the standards for product, marketing, and industry innovation techniques. The company has become well-known through their commitment to challenge the so-called "possibilities" of the computer industry. Their goal is to improve the user-friendliness of their products and to encourage an open-minded approach when developing new technologies and services.

First Computer

Wozniak, the true technical mind behind the building process of Apple's early computers, spent the summer of 1976 building the company's very first computer, the Apple I. Meanwhile, Jobs began creating advertisements and found a buyer for the computer. The Byte Shop in Mountain View, California, proved to be Apple's first major customer--and, coincidentally, the first retail computer store chain in the world. The two Steves were able to build and sell fifty Apple I computers that summer--all from within the confined space of the Jobs family's single-car garage. This would mark the first of many successful products to come from the company. Apple Computer was officially incorporated on January 3, 1977. Later that summer, Wozniak and Jobs began building the Apple II with the help of a few technically-savvy friends and classmates. It was at this time that Jobs first realized his true passion for the burgeoning computer industry. To fuel this passion, Jobs consulted with retired Intel Corporation marketing manager Michael Markkula regarding the possible future of Apple Computer. During this consultation, Markkula worked with Jobs in coming up with a solid business plan and even purchased one-third of the company for $250,000.

Companies Image

In 1977, Jobs and Markkula hired Michael Scott as the company's first president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In April of that same year, Apple decided it would be beneficial to their marketing strategies if they updated their image before putting the Apple II on the consumer market. To create their new logo, Jobs contacted Robert Janoff, an art director for advertising and public relations agency Regis McKenna. Janoff agreed to design the logo from an essentially blank canvas. "The really funny thing," explains Janoff, "was the only direction we got from Steve Jobs is: 'don't make it cute. Aside from some color alterations, Janoff's

iconic 1977 design remains to this day as the official logo of Apple Computer, Inc. After the success of the Apple I and Apple II, the company began work on the Apple III, which turned out to be their very first project failure. The Apple III proved to be an early sign of disagreements-to-come between the president Michael Scott and Steve Jobs. In fact, Scott laid-off 40 employees after the Apple III's failure--without any consultation or approval from the Board of Directors. Because of his abrupt actions, Scott was demoted to vice chairman, while Jobs was promoted to chairman. Markkula, who had originally hired Scott, took over as Apple's new CEO. Scott officially resigned from Apple in March of 1981. This tension would continue to escalate through the development of the company's next computer, the Apple Lisa.

The Macintosh

With improvements in the GUI, the Macintosh became a "possibility box" for companies developing similar products. Enhancing some features from the Lisa, the Macintosh

implemented a desktop, mouse, graphical file system, icons, bit-mapped graphics, menu

bar navigation, applications running inside windows, and more. The Macintosh laid the

foundation for the entire computer industry. The true look and feel of personal computers

today can be attributed to the early design features of the Macintosh.

Graphical User Interface of the Apple Macintosh (1984)

The Macintosh, however, did not dominate the consumer market as the company had hoped. Supported by Markkula and the other members of the board, president Sculley once again demoted Jobs (this time from vice-president and leader of the Macintosh division) in May 1985, leaving Jobs without any managerial power. In a somewhat desperate attempt to boost Macintosh sales, Apple released the Macintosh XL. This computer came with even more improved GUI updates, the innovative New Folder command, and the introduction of AppleTalk--the first self-configuring local area network (LAN) technology used to connect multiple computers to a single printer. This set the desktop publishing revolution into motion.

The iPod and iTunes Media Store

The iPod (October 2001) is a prime example of Steve Jobs' innovative mastery. The never-before-seen features of the iPod can be attributed to its sophisticated user-friendly design and the device's ability to be used on both Mac and Windows-based computers. To accompany the iPod, Apple released iTunes in April 2003. iTunes is software that manages various types of mixed digital media between the computer and the iPod, allowing users to purchase, organize, and playback various types of mixed-media files (photos, videos, music, podcasts, etc.). Users can then transfer these files directly to their iPod using Apple's user-friendly drag-and-drop file transferring feature.

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