SWOT Analysis of Apple’s iPod
The assessment of an organization and scanning of business market in terms of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats is termed as SWOT analysis. It incorporates scanning and monitoring both the Internal and External environment.
The scanning of external environment involves Opportunities and Threats analysis. For any new business decisions to be taken, the major macro and micro environmental forces should be carefully scrutinized. The marketing intelligence system should able to identify the various opportunities in different forms and also identify the possible threats that can come along with them. An ideal marketer should identify a high probability of tapping the profit from an opportunity while minimizing the threats. Identifying the consumer needs, merging the business trends, and bringing up amalgamated products that are new to market, and offering the customer a “package service” with high quality can be proved fruitful. Apple constantly provided its customer with supreme quality of products, backed by constant up gradation in product features, software availability, brand equity, service quality, distribution capacity etc. The ipod being the stepping stone in the digital hub arena, apple came up with the “music on the move” or “mobile music” strategy, then continuously pushing the market towards a mobile with the internet-facility, and gradually, mobile with storage of photos, videos, music, high speed internet and data transfer facility, i.e. offering a bunch of products in a small package. Also Apple introduced new capability to entrap a new opportunity, by enabling the consumer to create and edit, digital “iMovies” with the new “iMac’’ and upload them to Apple Web Server to share with friends around the world.
Whereas some developments in the external market can be turned into opportunities, some can impose threats as well. A threat is generally an unfavorable trend, economic downturn, shift in the consumer market etc, which can lead to lower the profit graphs. During 2001, at the time of US recession Apple was forced to face huge loss of $350 billion, sales falling from $8 billion to $5.7 billion. Apple struggled through this and came up with what is called more a consumer product, an ipod which revolutionized the electronic audio industry. People’s touch was music, which is loved by everybody, and ipod rekindled people’s love and passion for music undoubtedly.
Identifying the opportunities and threats by scanning and studying the external market is not going to help until and unless the company has ability to make use of them. The essential part is to entrap the weaknesses and strengths of the organization itself, and match them with the threats and opportunities. The ideal situation would be when one is able to convert the weaknesses into strengths and threats into opportunities. A company can restructure the organization’s management model, or make changes in process to enhance internal strength. Apple hired Tony Fadell, a former Phillips employee, who had a vision of high grade MP3 player, with download access, high storage, having a small size. Apple also restructured the process by integrating the product development stages. It is a seamless approach without passing the product through different developmental stages. The engineering was basically redesigned. Apple also strengthened its boundaries by in-house development of all the resource components, i.e. the music store, the software, and the player.