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Apple and Microsoft: the Development of Global Branding

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A global brand refers to the brands operating business across the world. This trading of goods and services over long distances goes back a very long time. A study shows that long distance trading was established in Europe in the Stone Age. It is different from an international brand which trades its products worldwide but has facilities only in its origin country. A global brand establishes production and distribution of its products across different countries.

Apple is an American global brand founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak on April 1, 1976, with the name of Apple Computers. Later in January 2007 Steve Jobs renamed the company, Apple Inc. . Apple designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics (iPad, iPhone, iPod), computer software (macOS, iOS, Safari) and online services (iTunes Store, iCloud, Apple Care), in which Apple’s iPhone is the most selling and popular product. While manufacturing of Apple’s product components is in Germany, China, Japan, Switzerland and USA, they are assembled in China, Brazil and USA. Having over 500 retail stores worldwide, Apple’s world corporate headquarters are located in California, USA and headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa are located in Cork, Ireland. Apple is also involved in activities such as Supplier Clean Energy program, in which it is committed to a 100% renewable energy into the company’s supply chain, further reducing the carbon footprint of the mass-scale production of its products to become more environmentally friendly. Apple is a partner of (PRODUCT)RED and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for fundraising campaigns.

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Today global presence becomes more of a requirement for large businesses with trade-friendly policies and growing competition. Globalisation became increasingly prevalent in the last decade, as businesses continue to grow by expanding their markets in different countries. Same products or services are sold in every market using the same image and characteristics of their respective company. Features of global company include massive capital resources, new technology, innovative products, market growth, centralised control. Apple Inc. takes the idea of going global to the next level using a one size fits-all approach with a standardised design across all regions by selling same range of products for all countries. The company frames a universal plan of actions for production placement and promotion of these products or services around the world. With the globalisation of business operations, the company can go for mass production which ultimately reduces the cost and make higher profits on sales.

Innovation is the core theme for every technology companies, Apple have passed this stage by creating a strong brand and offering innovative products to its customers. Success factors include No consumer division, their target market is everyone and has never been limited by demographics or other features that divides the market; Creation of brand culture, Apple has become much more than a brand by the fan base they have created along the years. Strategic decision-making processes have helped Apple to create innovative products and services and to perfect them. Global organisation with a universal offering usually uses global marketing, which implies they convey a widespread brand message. In terms of product mix, they don’t just create products, they build something that aims to change their customers’ lives, that is innovative products. One of the marketing strategies used by Apple is the idea of offering a superior user experience. In terms of place, retail stores owned by Apple have been a huge hit, with long lines of customers outside the stores at every product launch. Also, authorised sellers are included in the distribution line. In addition, customers can buy Apple products online through Apple’s website. In terms of promotion mix, advertisement has played a major role by creating the hype much before the product’s launch. Additionally, personal selling is often used by employees of the Apple Store who provide product details to the customers. Moreover, sales promotion is used at Apple Store and authorised re-seller locations. Apple has positioned itself at the high-end market from the beginning, in terms of pricing. As of now, Apple is experiencing tough competition from Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Dell and other companies. Relatively cheaper innovative products are being produced by these companies. Apple focuses on product differentiation and development. Brand loyalty remains to be a great strength of the company.

No matter where you go, if u put a picture of apple’s silver Macintosh symbol in front of someone, they will immediately know the logo. This two dimensional logo is recognized throughout the world by everyone. Apple inc. Is one the most successful company in the world, worth of 37$ billion according to Forbes. Apple has created different customized sites accordingly to the countries. They also have created different designed stores for different locations. Apple has brought their brand to the international global market. They always have valued innovation and thinking out of the box, and the company’s corporating culture remain one of its strategic achievements. Apple continues to push its innovation into businesses sector too. For example, once an ipad was considered a toy for the consumers, but nowadays they have pushed their boundaries and innovated it in more advanced way so people can use it for business too. Apple also employs an important role in global retail strategy by positioning their stores at the best locations. For example, apple always focuses on the high traffic, locations such as, China has a huge economic rate so they placed their store in the center of the main city which is Hong Kong where there are much more people then the other cities through which they take an advantage of catching their attention towards their products.

Apple inc. Also focuses on different products for different countries. There are many countries where consumers cannot afford the high-end products with much higher prices. For example, this year apple has made 3 different versions of an iPhone. For countries where economic rate is less, apple has made cheaper version for those countries with high-end tech. Apple provokes many products such as an iPad, after many innovations Apple inc. has combined both PC and iPad into one-in-one hand held device so that businesses can easily admit their data into it. Apple has always satisfied their customers globally through their innovative customization.

Every organization, while building up its brand, has to face many challenges. In early stage, Apple Inc. faced a number of challenges while building its brand. Apple has a number of competitors all over the world. In 1980, The Company became one of the most successful dealers in computers with high sales until, the Company started experiencing problems with its sales falling by the introduction of windows 1.0 from the rival company Microsoft. The plan of Microsoft was to make this program widely available for a license fee to other computer producers. There was a legal dispute between Apple and Microsoft, as there were a lot of similarities between windows and the Apple product. Microsoft eventually signed a contract with Apple specifying that Mac technology would not be used in Windows 1.0. As the personal computer industry grew and progressed due to higher competition from Compaq, IBM, Microsoft and many other manufacturers Apple lost its market share to the lower prices. Apple has been hurt by the economic downturn. Stock prices were on a steady decline. From August 2008 to March 2009, Apple’s stock price went from trading around $200 to trading around $90. Another challenge faced by the Apple Inc. is an environmental change such as waste. We know that the waste is not good especially e-waste as Apple is a manufacturer of electronic products so it produces e-waste that is problematic because it contains some chemicals such as mercury, lead and arsenic that is harmful for human being and environment. If, these chemical do not disposed by the Apple properly it leads to leaching of underground water. A study by Ifixit states that the waste produced every year is around 20 million tons. Moreover, to overcome this issue apple has removed the chemical beryllium while manufacture their new iPhone. The apple removed harmful chemical like Mercury and lead in 2009. Furthermore, in October 2015 Apple Inc. introduced “Supplier clean energy program”. This program was introduced not only for clean environment but also for business. Due to this program apple is working hard to provide 100% renewable energy to its worldwide apple services.

Apple plans to continue designing, developing and selling computer software, online services and consumer electronics with new and better features, in which one of the most awaited product is iPhone 12 which is to be released in Fall 2020. Other products such as Apple TV Set-Top Box, AR Smart glasses are to be introduced with their release date to be unknown. Apple is also planning to introduce itself in the automotive industry by developing a fully electronic car with autonomous driving known as Project Titan, with a launch to happen between 2023 and 2025. Apple is not known for large M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) with the exception of their most notable acquisition of Beats for $3 billion. But now they’ve been planning on greater M&A focus, as their iPhone business may slip with time.

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