Today the apple stakeholders are about as abundant as non-stakeholders. It can only be assumed that shareholders feel they are getting value from Apple because their stock has increased 48% over the last 6 months alone. There are not too many shareholders that would see a downside to that. Apple has also announced that it will now be issuing quarterly dividends. This news comes on the back of the company’s record cash position. It will also be buying back $45-billion dollars work of shares over the next three years. It should be noted that projected profits are anticipated to increase faster than this cash can be distributed ensuring a continued positive cash position. (Jameson Berkow, The Financial Post, March 19th, 2012)
The original stakeholders and founders of Apple are no longer active employees but for everyone else pay and perks are good. Apple is ranks #10 on a list of the top 50 companies to work for in America (Glassdoor, 2012). As mentioned earlier, Apple is also leading the charge in fair wages for its contract employees overseas. Glassdoor also cited employees who believe Apple pays too much attention to the needs of consumers at the expense of staff. Such a comment might be seen as a fair assessment of a company that is taking a balanced look at providing an equitable stakeholder experience from staff to consumers. There are a lot of expectations that go with being the top selling brand in any single category, let alone six. Still Apple has been doing an excellent job at balancing the needs of both its employees and consumers. This is a feat that is not easily accomplished.
Similarly apple has a large number of third party application developers, musicians, and movie studios that they represent through their iTunes store. As a generalized assessment apple has used its ‘walled community’ very strategically to protect these stakeholders. In the early 2000’s Apple took a stance on music piracy that at that time was running rampant throughout the internet. In doing so they were able to unite the entire music industry and save it from impending collapse. With a proven hardware and software solution in hand they were able to provide a similar solution to software developers and the movie industry. In hind sight such action can be seen as self-serving but the point is that no other company was or is willing to provide an equivalent win-win solution for these industries.
Stakeholder Summary Analysis
This does not represent a complete list of stakeholders. Such a list could be easily expanded to include the environment and the city of Cupertino California, both of which have been looked after quite nicely by Apple, but it does establish a general understanding of Apples influence and concern for all its major stakeholders. In all the established examples, Apple has taken a proactive approach to maintaining an excellent relationship with all its stakeholders. It is also continuing to actively pursue actions to further improve these relationships including the fight for fair wages and human rights concerns in foreign factories that are run by its contractors.
This paper has attempted to produce a fair and independent SWOT analysis and Stakeholder needs assessment of Apple Inc. In doing so, using only these two tools of assessment, it can be concluded that Apple Inc. should be included into the portfolio of this investment fund manager.