Thus, through this strategy of creating early exposure to the consumers at an early stage in their life cycle, Apple creates a loyal consumer base in which the customers themselves are not acquainted of the fact that they have become customers.
Apple’s products also caters to the requirements of businesses, which is asserted by numbers that indicate that about 92% and 93% of Fortune 500 companies deploy or test iPads and iPhones respectively. Apple strives to use its knowledge intensive solutions to cater to the needs of businesses too. The case of airlines can be considered here which have started to use Apple’s iPads to substitute the navigation charts, printed aircraft flight manuals, as well as other material which pilots have to bring on board. Another new addition to Apple’s consumers is Lowe’s, the home improvement retailer. The company states that it had bought about 42,000 iPhones which are used by its employees on the store floors so as to facilitate communication between them.
Apple’s Mac computers were not preferred by businesses as they perceive them to be expensive. This knowledge about the price consciousness of the buyers was used as an input by Apple and consequently, it designed products that were not very expensive like the iPod and the iPhone to cater to the needs of business houses. It continually builds in features and applications for its devices which facilitate the conduct of business activities. Initially, Apple aimed at the target market segment of retail consumers, but now the company progresses to tap the potential of the business buying market segment also.
Knowledge management is concerned with the application of information in a manner so as to benefit the stakeholders of the organization at large. However, in one of the aspects, Apple needs further innovative and value adding practices and that pertains to the aspects of corporate social responsibility. As per a report Watts (2011), Apple’s products have been accused of degrading the environment as well as poisoning workers. The company’s supply chain is highly secretive and lacks transparency when compared with its peers. Several critics have pointed that in the move to drive prices lower; the company exerts pressure on its suppliers who tend to match up to the expectations by not abiding with the environmental regulations. This ultimately leads to pollution of the environment and exposure of the workers to health hazards.
Knowledge management focuses on applying managerial skills to utilize the information in a manner that maximizes the value of the stakeholders. Though the company has made lives of people easier and supplier (mainly its customer base), its suppliers have been adversely affected in the drive to lower prices. Thus the company needs to work on this aspect too and apply practices that do not pose environmental and health hazards to the stakeholder group at large.