(i) Sculley (1985-1993) – Product Leader
Sculley did try lower priced products such as the Mac Classic, he was primarily
a product leader. He invested the largest percentages of sales in R&D (9%)
compared to other CEOs. Thus, the cost structure was very high, but Apple also
gained loyal customers who paid premium prices during this period; its gross
margin reached beyond 50%, which none of other CEOs had ever reached.
(1993-1996) – Operationally Excellent
Spindler cut workforce by 16%, and investment in R&D shrank
from 9% to 6%. The gross margin had hit 10%, marking the lowest. Instead of a
qualitative upgrade, Spindler attempted a quantitative expansion
internationally, generating 45% of its sales overseas. He also initiated the
licensing program to make Mac clones. All of his strategies were geared towards
gaining efficiency rather than adding premium values.
(1996-1997) – Product Leader
Although the gross margin did not reflect it, his primary strategy
as CEO was product leader. The job cuts and restructuring efforts were more due
to Apple’s dire situation rather than an attempt to gain operational
excellence. Amelio tried to bring Apple back to premium-price differentiation
strategies and develop new OS based on NeXT software. Such investment shows
that Amelio tried to turn around from the strategies of Spindler.
(1997-2011) – Product Leader
Although Jobs also underwent restructuring efforts and cut costs
by outsourcing their work to Taiwan and China, He bigger focus was on
innovation through increasing investment in R. Jobs terminated the
Macintosh licensing program, narrowed the 15 product lines to only 4, and
maintained secrecy through a closed-door policy. Jobs stressed design, simplicity
and product elegance. Apple even marketed itself as a cultural force, different
and premium from all others. Overall, his strategy as a product leader
distinguished Apple, which became the premium brand it is today.