When Apple Computer was formed on April 1, 1976, no one could have forecast what would happen in the next 40 years. The concept of “personal/home computers” seemed beyond hopeful to many and ludicrous to most. But Steves Wozniak and Jobs, with a little financial help from Mike Markkula (who lent them credibility by cosigning a $250k loan), pressed on, crushing rivals Commodore and Tandy, and eventually piquing the attention of powerhouse IBM. By 1984, just three years after it entered the personal computer market, IBM PCs were outselling Apples by more than two-to-one, and the great rivalry between platforms had begun.
But while IBM was busy building market share in hardware, and partner Microsoft focused on developing software for the office market, Apple stayed true to its focus on consumer electronics, introducing products like the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone. On the personal computer front, PCs and their clones flooded the market, driving Apple’s personal computer market share downward, while Apple loyalists – particularly in the design community – argued their platform was superior. And that war still rages, today.
Fast-forward to January 2015, and you’ll hear a whole new story. With its FY 2015 First Quarter report, Apple Corporation announces $18.9 Billion in quarterly profit. Was that “Billion?” Yes, more than any public company has ever reported, anywhere in the world. Now who’s arguing over platforms? The story, here, is about marketing strategies. By broadening its original product scope from personal computers to consumer electronics, Apple has become the largest corporation in the world. A $722 Billion market cap (February 11, 2015). $179 Billion cash on hand. Focus makes all the difference.