1. Explain how Apples philosophy and organizational culture have impacted how it handles ethical decisions. 2. Why...


1. Explain how Apple’s philosophy and organizational culture have impacted how it handles ethical decisions.
2. Why is Apple’s industry so competitive and how could this affect the ethical risks in Apple’s operations?
3. How do you think Apple has handled the various ethical issues that it has faced in the past?

Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple Inc. experienced many challenges throughout its business history. In 1997 Apple’s share price was $3.30. Fifteen years later its share price rose to $705.07 (although its share price decreased to $425 the following year). In 2014 Apple split its stock 7-1, meaning each share was worth a seventh of its previous value, and stockholders were given seven extra shares of stock to make up the difference. Apple’s stock price has become a key benchmark for the technology sector. For the past eight years, Apple earned first place among Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies. To millions of consumers, the Apple brand embodies quality, prestige, and innovation.

Although companies tried to copy the Apple business model, none have been able to discover what it is that makes Apple so unique. Apple is ranked first in innovation by Fortune magazine and is a market leader in the development and sales of mobile devices. Many believe Apple’s success stems from a combination of several factors, including the remarkable leadership skills of former CEO Steve Jobs, a corporate culture of enthusiasm and innovation, and the high-tech products for which Apple is known. These combining qualities allow Apple to revolutionize the technology and retail industries.

Apple’s first product, the Apple I, was vastly different from the Apple products most are familiar with today. This first handmade computer kit was constructed by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. It lacked a graphic user interface (GUI), and buyers had to add their own keyboard and display. Cofounder Steve Jobs convinced Wozniak that it could be sold as a commercial product. In 1976 the Apple I was unveiled at the Home Brew Computer Club and put on sale for $666.66.

Jobs and Wozniak continued to create innovative products. Soon their new company, Apple Computer Inc., surpassed $1 million in sales. However, the mid-1980s brought difficult times for Apple. In 1983 the company introduced the Apple Lisa for $10,000. The product flopped. In 1985 Steve Jobs was ousted after internal conflicts with the Apple CEO. Its computer products the Mac I and the Newton were not successful, and the company underwent several CEO changes. With declining stock prices, the future of Apple was in jeopardy.

Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 to try and save the struggling company. The return of Jobs introduced a new era for Apple. Jobs immediately began to change the company’s corporate culture. Before Jobs’s return, employees were more open about Apple projects. After he returned, Jobs instituted a “closed door” policy.

Aside from efforts to protect intellectual property internally, Jobs was also a proponent of using litigation against rival companies suspected of patent infringement. Apple sued Nokia, HTC, and Samsung in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Perhaps the most notable lawsuits were made against Samsung, where both companies filed suits against each other across nine countries over a three-year period. In total, Apple and Samsung filed over 40 patent infringement lawsuits and counter suits related to intellectual property rights. The companies decided to end litigation outside of the United States, choosing to focus instead on cases that are still active in the United States. Today Apple continues to remain vigilant in protecting its technology and ensuring information remains proprietary.

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