Essays on Comparison between Apple Computers and Dell Computers Case Study

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper 'Comparison between Apple Computers and Dell Computers" is a good example of a management case study.   Apple Computers was an early innovator in the market and really brought the concept of personal computers to the masses as early as the 1980s although the commoditization of the product threw it out of the competition in the 1990s. By this time, the standardization of the product, thanks to the advent of the Windows-based systems, computer manufacturing became a cost game rather than one of innovation. Dell Computers rode the bandwagon of cost competitiveness through an elaborate mechanism of direct marketing and outsourced production during this period.

However, of late, Dell’ s competitive advantage has been dented by the saturation of its cost competitiveness and lack of innovation. At the same time, Apple is beginning to turn around with the next round of innovative products and diversification (as is evident from its success in the iPod and its change of name to Apple Inc. ). In this paper, I would argue that innovation is a more useful approach for long-term sustainable growth than cost competitiveness although the latter strategy may result in fast growth over the short or medium term. The early 1980s Steve Jobs and Steve Waxniak built Apple Computers from scratch, with Waxniak assembling a computer at Job’ s parents’ garage (Wikipedia).

The Apple I computer that was sold in 1977 was not a complete computer but simply a motherboard with CPU, RAM and textual video chips. The Apple II computer, introduced the same year, was one of the three personal computers launched that year but became more successful than the others. From the beginning, Apple PCs were user-friendly, had open architecture, color graphics and floppy disk drives that were then available only for mainframe and minicomputers and not for PCs.

By 1981, the market for PCs had grown, thanks to Apple’ s innovative products and hard-edged marketing campaigns. Apple III was launched in 1983 (an earlier version was launched in 1980 but that failed because of design deficiencies) (Brittanica). The original mission of Apple Computers was to offer sleek computers aimed at the home user segment.

Works Cited

Wikipedia, Apple Computers,

Encyclopedia Britannica, Apple Inc.,

Business Week, Apple Computer, April 3, 2006,

Business Week – Boston Consulting Group, The World's Most Innovative Companies April 24, 2006,

Porter, Michael, Competitive Advantage, Free Press, New York, 1985

Barney, Jay, B. Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, Addison-Wesley, 1997

Achtmeyer, William, F., Dell Computer Corporation, Center for Global Leadership,

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, 2002, available at

Allison, Kevin, Dell in Ding-Dong Battle: A New Leader has Growing Pains, The Weekend Australian, available at,5744,18450159%255E36375,00.html

Byrnes, Jonathan, Dell Manages Profitability, Not Inventory, Harvard Business School

Working Knowledge of Leaders, available at

Dedrick, Jason and Kraemer, Kenneth, L, Asia’s Computer Challenge: Threat or

Opportunity for the United States and the World? New York: Oxford University Press, 1998

Dell, Michael and Catherine Fredman, Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized

and Industry, Collins, 2000

Kraemer, Kenneth, L and Dedrick, Jason, Dell Computer: Organization of a Global

Production Network, Center for Research on Information Technology and

Organizations, available at

Maguire, James, Case Study:, March 3, 2003, e-commerce, available


Maney, Kevin, Dell Business Model Turns to Muscle as Rivals Struggle, USA Today,

available at


Nagle, Thomas T and Hogan, John, Managing Pricing Through Competition

Thoughtfully, available at,0,w

Ottink, Frank, Dell’s Biggest Enemy: Commoditization, The Interactive Investor Journal,

28 April 2004 available at

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us