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Corporate Cultures of Apple and Microsoft
Introduction Nowadays, high technology is one of the most competitive industries in the world of business. Although there are many players in the industry, some corporations have greater market share than others. The given essay focuses on the traditional competitors - Apple and Microsoft. Specifically, the paper is aimed at contrast and comparison of their corporate cultures. After analyzing the corporate culture of the two competitors, the imminent benefits are investigated, and the future of the two companies is speculated.
Apple and Microsoft Corporate Cultures Apple Inc. is a US-based multinational company that develops and sells electronic goods, such as desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices, as well as their own software. One of the most popular computers is what is referred to as Mac, while iOS is one of the most popular software platforms. Microsoft is also a leading multinational software company based in the US. According to Bishop (2004), it is the largest software company in the world in terms of revenues. At the core of its culture, Microsoft seeks to work to fulfill its public responsibilities across the globe. Their culture is characterized by responsible global citizenship. In recent times, Apple has made headlines having sold millions of pieces of their new tablet computers, iPads. It comes despite the companys woes of 1997. In this regard, it implies that something about the companys corporate culture has changed since 1997; thus, returning to profitability. According to OGrady (2009), Apples traditional corporate culture was depicted by a formal briefcase-carrying business professional in a blue suit. However, this earlier culture has since changed. For instance, the company transformed its tall organizational hierarchy to a very flat one. The company also changed the idea of wearing uniforms to casual dressing at the workplace. For instance, Steve Jobs, one of the founders of the company, used to wear shorts and walk barefoot across the floors of the company. On the other hand, Microsofts corporate culture appears to be embedded on expansion and protection of markets. The company has great connections with governments, non-profit organizations and networks of partners. Apple is more focused on innovation, while Microsoft focuses on long-term relationships (Fisher, 2008). For instance, the website of the company reports that Microsoft donated $795 million in software to nonprofit organizations. Other corporate strategies include youth empowerment (Youth Spark), climate change, and employees rewarding. Microsofts corporate strategy can be summarized as embrace, extend and extinguish.
Benefits of the two Corporate Cultures Since Apples inception in the 1970s, the company has had many chief executives. Since each executive had own set of values and preferences, Apples corporate culture underwent evolution through a series of changes. Consequently, there have been benefits arising from this wide range of cultures. According to Colvin (2009), on account of its casual culture, Apple has been able to foster excellence and individuality for its employees. One of the specific ways of promoting excellence is through Apple Fellows program. The program rewarded those employees that were outstanding in their computing niches. Secondly, Apples culture has led to greater accountability on part of the employees who are highly effective in their areas of expertise. In Apple terms, the corporate culture has created directly responsible individuals (DRIs). For instance, when Scott Forstall, the senior vice president of iOS, refused to sign an apology for the errors omitted in Apples Maps App, he was sacked. According to Arends (2012), Microsofts corporate culture took a different direction in 1986 when the company held its initial public offering (IPO). By the year 2003, the company had fast tracked the process of issuing dividends. Based on the 3E competitive strategy, Microsoft has been able to embrace competing products, extend the products through differentiation and extinguish competition that does not match with Microsofts products. Owing to this adoption of strategies that suppressed other competitors, the company has been leading in market share of software to the recent popularity of Apples tablet computers. Diversification in the energy sector has also led to corporate benefits, such as silver certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The Future Moving forward, Microsoft is expected to intensify its extinguishing strategy. It is foreseen that due to its already existing advantage, Microsoft will introduce new products to counter Apples iOS, iPhones and iPads. Although there have been many lawsuits against Microsofts competitive strategies, it is expected that the company will continue to work with the US government in disseminating social corporate responsibility programs. In turn, Apple is expected to grow more in specialization. It is because the company insists on the fact that employees must be perfect in their areas of expertise. In addition, the supply chain of Apple is expected to take the leading role. In fact, it had been the best for four continuous years, starting from 2007 (Fisher, 2008). Due to effective policies of procurement, logistics and manufacturing, the future is expected to be full of product luncheons. Profit margins are also likely to be improved at 40% (current), as opposed to 10% to 20% for other technology companies. Apple has been branding some of its products as designed and assembled in the U.S. It is expected that with massive global expansion, the caption will disappear; hence, accord the company with global recognition, as opposed to American citizenship alone.
Conclusion The field of high technology has seen new dimensions of competition only during the last decade. Innovation and expansion to the new markets has been the most dominant approach. Microsoft and Apple have been traditionally competing for market share. Their corporate cultures are different amid few similarities. While Apple seeks to empower its employees, Microsoft focuses on expansion. In the near future, it is expected that Microsoft will diversify its competitive strategies to extinguish Apples revolutionary products.