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One of Jobs’ greatest skills was being able to decide which projects the firm should not undertake. For example, it is said that engineers at Apple were urging its boss to create a tablet computer in early 2000/2. But Jobs turned a deaf ear to their entreaties and, instead, insisted that the company focus on producing a smartphone. The result was the iPhone, which transformed yet another market and is still minting money. In a creative cauldron like Apple, ideas are rarely in short supply. But the skill of choosing the right ones to focus on at the right time is rare.
Yet, even if it produces a cheaper iPhone, pushes deep into China and wows the world with a smart TV and Apple Watch, competition is now tougher in its core markets. Rivals will not let it disrupt new ones so easily. Has the firm’s great innovation engine stalled?
1. The return on investment delivered by Apple has fallen considerably. Explain why.

2. Steve Jobs’ impact on Apple is without question. Surely a company of over 100,000 employees is not reliant on one person? How did his death affect Apple?

3. Discuss whether Apple has shunned open innovation and adopted a very closed innovation model.

4. Discuss how, on the one hand, Apple seems to very good at disruptive innovation, yet it is also accused of copying others.

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