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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance

Uppers

Working for a top brand that helps influence people's daily life

Working with the best and the brightest

Downers

Some employees say that promotion and finding a career path can be challenging

Negative press over supply chain issues in China and elsewhere

Demanding culture of perfectionism

The Bottom Line

You don't choose to work for Apple; the company chooses you-small wonder given that Apple is widely recognized as one of the most desirable companies in the world to work for.

About Apple Inc.

Ask Siri to name the most successful company in the world and it might respond: Apple. And it's not just out of familial pride. Apple consistently ranks highly in profit, revenue, market capitalization, and consumer cachet and it was the first reach a trillion dollar market cap. The iPhone, in its 12th year, has been the company's golden goose, generating tens of billions in revenue and profit. Other Apple products and services include Mac computers and iPad tablets as well as the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple Watch, and other wearable devices. Apple has entered entertainment with the Apple TV+ streaming service. The company has inked alliances with corporations to deepen its penetration of the enterprise market. About 60% of Apple's revenue comes from outside the Americas.

Operations

Apple relies on the iPhone for 55% of sales, while its other hardware products, the Mac desktop and notebook computers and iPad tablets, account for about 10% or less each. Services, which includes the App Store, iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple Pay mobile payment, is the second biggest revenue producer, close to 20% of revenue. The Wearables, Home and Accessories segment, which include the AppleWatch and HomePod, accounts for less than 10% of sales.

Apple's hardware products are tightly integrated with the company's software, which helps its devices work smoothly, but in some ways limits its market reach and can frustrate users who would like to have access to more third-party products including hardware. The company's operating systems are iOS for mobile devices, MacOS for computers, Apple WatchOS for the watch, and iPadOS for the iPad. The company generally releases generational updates of its operating systems once a year.

Apple outsources substantially all production to contractors located mainly in Asia, while some Mac components are made in the US and Ireland. Its Mac Pro computers are assembled in Austin, Texas.

Geographic Reach

Apple, based on Cupertino, California, generates about 40% of sales in the US, while Greater China and Europe contribute about a quarter of revenue and 15% of revenue, respectively.

The company has more than 500 Apple retail stores in the US and some two dozen countries. Australia, China, Canada, and the UK are among the company's largest retail store markets outside the US.

Sales and Marketing

Apple has one of the most recognizable brands in the world, ranked highly year-after-year and survey after survey. T`he company has been the most valuable brand for seven years in a row, according to brand consultancy Interbrand.

The company sells its products through its own retail stores and website, as well as through a direct sales force. In addition, the company distributes through indirect channels, such as third-party retailers such as Best Buy and Target, resellers, and cellular network carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Indirect channels account for about 70% of Apple's revenue.

Financial Performance

Apple in 2019 reported its second year of lower revenue in the past decade. Even with the drop, revenue has grown nearly $200 billion over the past decade, propelled by sales of the iPhone.

In 2019 (ended September), sales slipped 2% to about $260.1 billion, down $5.4 billion from 2018, driven by a 14% decline in iPhone sales (down $22 billion year-over-year). The company's other segments, however, posted sales gains, lead by a 41% gain in Wearables, Home and Accessories sales and a 16% rise in Services sales. The Americas was the only major geographic market to report higher year-over-year sales with a 4% gain, while sales in China tumbled 16%.

The lower revenue sliced about $4.2 billion from Apple's net income, which fell to $55.2 billion in 2019 from $59.5 billion in 2018.

Apple held $205.9 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities in 2019 compared to $237.1 billion in 2018. In 2018, operating activities generated $63.4 billion and investing activities provided $45.9 billion, while financing activities used $90.9 billion.

Strategy

Apple released new versions of the iPhone (iPhone 11), the iPad, and Mac computers as well as iOS13, iPadOS for the iPad, and Catalina for its computers in the fiscal year that ended September 2019.

But the company's biggest push was in its services segment. Apple introduced a credit card (Apple Card) and subscription services for news (Apples News+) and games (Apple Arcade) in FY2019. Those were followed in November 2019 by Apple TV+, a streaming service with original content produced by Apple.

The push in services, which also include Apple Music, the App Store, and cloud service, is designed to make up for some of the losses in iPhone sales as mobile phone sales around the world have stagnated. Services sales rose $6.5 billion, covering less than a third of the $22.5 billion drop in iPhone revenue. Still, Apple claimed 450 million paid subscriptions across its services in 2019 compared to more than 330 million in 2018.

Apple added another $7.1 billion in sales from its Wearables, Home, and Accessories products, which include watches, airpods, and the company's smart speaker.

The iPhone's share of Apple's revenue fell to 55% in 2019 from more than 60% in previous years. The company has charged premium prices for iPhones (ensuring fat profits), but Apple's high iPhone prices have sent some phone buyers to less expensive brands, particularly in China where local companies provide plenty of alternatives. Apple set the price of one its new phones at $699 in 2019 in hopes of luring cost-conscious consumers.

Apple is expected to sell a phone equipped for 5G wireless service in 2020, which should lead to a surge in sales (as is expected for most mobile phone makers).

Apple has money to develop new products and services. At the end of 2019, it had about $205 billion in cash, equivalents, and short-term securities. The company has promised shareholders it would return cash to them through stock buybacks and dividends, but it should still have enough money for R&D and manufacturing.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2019 Apple agreed to buy a majority stake Intel's smartphone modem business for about $1 billion. The deal includes about 2,200 Intel employees and some 17,000 wireless technology patents. The acquisition gives Apple control over developing modem chips for its 5G smartphones. Apple has been using Qualcomm chips and will continue to do so for six years, according to a 2019 agreement with Qualcomm chips. That should give Apple time to develop its own chips. The Intel deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.

In 2018 Apple made several acquisitions to strengthen and expand several parts of its business.

Apple brought much of the hardware that manages power in iPhones and Apple Watches in-house in a deal worth $600 million with Dialog Semiconductor. Dialog has supplied Power Management Integrated Circuits (PMICs) to Apple since the iPhone was introduced. In the deal, Apple paid $300 million for the 300-member Dialog engineering team that works on Apple's PMICs, PMIC patents, and offices in the UK, German, and Italy. The other $300 million went to lock in a three-year supply of PMICs and other chips.

Apple's plans for augmented and virtual reality-based products took another step when the company bought Akonia Holographics, a privately held company in Longmont, Colorado. The company's holographic lens technology could be used to develop eyeglasses that show information to the wearer. The deal could advance Apple's efforts to develop a product line around augmented reality technology.

Apple, in another 2018 transaction, closed its acquisition of Shazam, the music identification application for smartphones. When a user opens the Shazam app while music is playing, the app identifies the song and artist. Shazam, based in the UK, has operated since 2012 and was an early offering on Apple's app store with more than a billion downloads since.

Also in 2018 Apple acquired Texture, which offers digital subscriptions to about 200 magazines for a monthly fee. The acquisition slots into Apple's services segment, which includes Apple Music. Magazines available on Texture, which has been called the Netflix of magazines, include the New Yorker, Men's Health, Time, Rolling Stone, Real Simple, and Cosmopolitan. Texture's parent company, Next Issue Media LLC, is owned publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and Rogers Media, and private equity firm, KKR.

Other 2018 acquisitions were of Platoon, a developer of analytics tools to provide musicians with the functions record labels used to handle, and Silk Labs, which develops artificial intelligence for digital assistants, to further develop the HomePod and Siri.

Company Background

College dropouts Steve Jobs (1955-2011) and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976 in California's Santa Clara Valley. After Jobs' first sales call brought an order for 50 units, the duo built the Apple I in his garage and sold it without a monitor, keyboard, or casing. Demand convinced Jobs there was a distinct market for small computers, and the company's name (a reference to Jobs' stint on an Oregon farm) and the computer's user-friendly look and feel set it apart from others.

The company's Macintosh made a splash in the mid-1980s, driven by its Super Bowl commercial in 1984. As the company grew, Jobs was forced from the company. Apple never matched the IBM PC in total sales, but it had a cultural cachet and ease-of-use that led to its foothold in education, publishing, and other creative industries.

In the 1990s, a succession of CEOs tried different strategies to increase sales, including licensing the company's technology to third-parties to produce Apple clones. The strategy never paid off.

Jobs returned in the late '90s as Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy. He slashed the company's bloated product portfolio and introduced a line of eye-catching Macintosh computers. Then came the iPod music player, which led to the iPhone, which became one of the world's most successful products, and the iPad tablet. More than 2 billion devices running on Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, have been sold. While iPhone sales have been surpassed by Android devices, the premium Apple charges for its products have driven record sales and profitability.

Jobs died in 2011 from pancreatic cancer. His successor, Tim Cook, has run the company since.

Apple Inc.

1 Apple Park Way
Cupertino, CA 95014-0642
Phone: 1 (408) 996-1010

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: AAPL
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
Chairman: Arthur D. Levinson
SVP and CFO: Luca Maestri
COO: Jeffrey E. Williams
Employees (This Location): 2,000
Employees (All Locations): 137,000

Major Office Locations

Cupertino, CA

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