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BANKING ACADEMY, HANOI BTEC HND IN BUSINESS (FINANCE) ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET NAME OF STUDENT REGISTRATION NO. UNIT TITLE Unit 7: Business Strategy ASSIGNMENT TITLE Strategy Formation and Planning ASSIGNMENT NO 1 of 2 NAME OF ASSESSOR SUBMISSION DEADLINE I, __________________________ hereby confirm that this assignment is my own work and not copied or plagiarized from any source. I have referenced the sources from which information is obtained by me for this assignment. ________________________________ _________________________ Signature Date 1

BS A1 Oct 2011

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I, __________________________ hereby confirm that this assignment is my own work and not copied or plagiarized from any source. I have referenced the sources from which information is obtained by me for this assignment.

________________________________ _________________________

Signature Date

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOR OFFICIAL USE (Course Administrator)


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Assignment Received By: Date:

Unit Outcomes

Outcome Evidence for the criteria

Feedback Assessor’s decision

Internal Verification

Analyze how the business environment

is considered in strategy



Define the context of business strategy


Explain the significance of

stakeholder analysis


Conduct an environmental

and organizational

audit of a given organization


Apply strategic positioning

techniques to the analysis of a

given organization


Understand the process of strategic planning.


Demonstrate an ability to think strategically


Prepare a strategic plan

for a given organisation,

based on previous analysis


Merit grades awarded M1 M2 M3

Distinction grades awarded D1 D2 D3


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Outcome Evidence for the criteria

Feedback Assessor’s decision

Internal Verification

Comments by Assessor - Common Skills A B C D E F G

Assignment( ) Well-structured; Reference is done properly / should be done (if any)

Overall, you’ve

Areas for improvement:


NAME:......................................................................................... (Oral feedback was also provided)


NAME :................................................................................FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY VERIFIED YES NO

DATE : ..........................................................................

VERIFIED BY : ...........................................................................

NAME : ...........................................................................

COMMON SKILLS & COMPETENCIES ASSESSED (indicated by X)A. MANAGING & DEVELOPING SELF D. MANAGING TASKS & SOLVING PROBLEMS1. Managing own roles & responsibilities 12. Use information sources X2. Manage own time in achieving objectives 13. Deal with a combination of routine & non-routine tasks

3. Undertakes personal and career development 14. Identify & solve routine & non-routine problems

4. Transfer skills gained to new/changing situations & contexts

B. WORKING WITH & RELATING TO OTHERS E. APPLYING NUMERACY5. Treat others beliefs and opinions with respect 15. Applying numerical skills and techniques

6. Relate & interact effectively with individuals & groups

7. Work effectively as a team member F. APPLYING TECHNOLOGYC. COMMUNICATING 16. Use a range of technological equipment and systems X8. Receive and respond to a variety of information X G. APPLYING DESIGN AND CREATIVITY9. Present information in a variety of visual forms X 17. Applying a range of skills and techniques to develop a

variety of ideas in the creation of new / modified products, services or situations10. Communicate in writing X

11. Participate in oral & no-verbal communication 18. Use a range of thought processes


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In January 2007, three decades after its incorporation, Apple Computer shed the second word in its name and became Apple Inc. With that move, the company signaled a fundamental shift away from its historic status as a vendor of the Macintosh personal computer (PC) line. Mac sales remained vital to Apple’s future, but they now accounted for less than half of its total revenue.

Non-PC product lines drove much of Apple’s financial performance. The company’s iPod line of portable music players, together with its iTunes Store, had upended the music business. With the iPhone, a multifunction handheld device released in June 2007, Apple aimed to do the same for the mobile phone market. The launch of the iPhone 3G, in July 2008, involved major changes to the offering—a revamped pricing model, a new retail channel advanced, and a platform for third-party applications, along with 3G network service—that promised to make it still more competitive.

“Apple Inc.” was thriving to a degree that was seemingly far beyond the capacity of “Apple Computer.” Yet critical aspects of the company’s strategic profile had changed rather little. Although Mac sales had surged in recent years, for example, Apple’s share of the worldwide PC market consistently failed to rise above a 3% ceiling. CEO Steve Jobs, therefore, faced a new variation on an old question: Was Apple’s recent success just another temporary “up” in its up-and-down history, or had he finally established a sustainable strategy for the company?

In 2008, the sale of Macintosh computers remained a pivotal business for Apple, notwithstanding the company’s name change. “We think PCs are more important than they were five years ago,” Jobs said in 2007. That year, Mac sales accounted for 43% of Apple’s total revenue. Apple put a high premium on creating machines that offered a cutting-edge, tightly integrated user experience. Apple charged premium prices as well. In marketing its Mac products, Apple highlighted features that differentiated them from other PCs while also emphasizing their interoperability with other machines. Attractive Apple design factors, ease of use, security, and high-quality bundled software were among the qualities that distinguished the Macintosh line. At the same time, Apple trumpeted the Mac as an “Everything-ready” device that worked well with other devices. Over time, the Mac had become a less closed system, incorporating standard interfaces such as the USB port. Owners of a Mac mini could use a non-Mac keyboard, for example, and users of a non-Mac PC could attach it to an Apple display.

Apple launched the iPod, a portable digital music player based on the MP3 compression standard, in November 2001. Thanks to its sleek design, it soon became “an icon of the Digital Age. The economics of the iPod were stellar by CE industry standards, with gross margins that ranged from 30% to 35%.73 In 2007, analysts estimated that Apple paid a bill of materials (BOM) of $127 for an 80GB iPod classic, which retailed for $249. Maintaining relationships with key suppliers— ranging from Samsung, which manufactured the iPod’s video-audio chip, to Toshiba, which made many of its hard disk drives—was crucial to Apple’s strategy for the device. Forging deals with flash manufacturers was especially important. In November 2005, the company agreed to pay $500 million up-front to Intel and Micron to secure “a substantial portion” of the output from a new flash-memory joint venture. It made similar deals with Hynix, Samsung, and Toshiba. In mid-2007, Apple was on track to command roughly 25% of all flash production for use either in


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iPod products or in the iPhone, which also relied on flash memory. As of mid-2008, Apple had sold more than 150 million iPods. According to most estimates, the device commanded 70% or more of the U.S. market for portable music players. Rivals in the MP3 player market included Creative, Samsung, and Sony. The most prominent challenge to the iPod came from Microsoft, which introduced its Zune line of music players in late 2006. At the hardware level, Zune players roughly matched comparable iPod models and included features—wireless music-sharing capability, an FM tuner—that the iPod lacked. According to some reviewers, though, Zune software and the Zune Marketplace content store were inferior to iTunes offerings.

In July 2008, just a year after launching the iPhone, Apple reinvented it. The new offering, called the iPhone 3G, came not only with faster network service, but also with an entirely new pricing model and with a new platform for adding third-party applications to the device. As the product name implied, a key difference between the iPhone 3G and its predecessor was that it supported 3G network coverage. The device’s battery life had improved enough to allay Jobs’s concerns. The iPhone 3G was also cheaper than the first iPhone—at least with respect to the initial purchase price for the device. The chief benefits of the iPhone 3G essentially matched those of the first iPhone, and they reflected Apple’s prowess in designing user interface (UI) technology. Unlike most mobile phones, the iPhone had no embedded keyboard. Instead, it featured a 3.5-inch “multi-touch” widescreen display that took up most of its surface area. Critics raved about this UI, which allowed users to manipulate content on the screen by tapping, pinching, and dragging their finger on it. The device also featured “accelerometer” technology, which enabled it to sense when users were moving and to adjust its screen orientation accordingly. Its screen quality, meanwhile, marked a big step forward for iPod video functionality. Partnerships with Google and YouTube allowed Apple to provide customized search, mapping, and video features. In addition, users could buy music for the iPhone directly from the device, via the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.

In conjunction with launching the iPhone 3G, Apple introduced a new benefit for iPhone users: a platform for third-party applications. An updated software package, called iPhone 2.0, enabled users to install programs distributed through Apple’s new online App Store. Users could visit the store and download applications directly from their iPhone. Offerings ranged from popular games (Scrabble, Sodoku) to business programs developed by Oracle and salesforce.com. The first iPhone did not support such applications. But now even users of the older model, as well as iPod touch owners, could download iPhone 2.0 software and equip their device for the new platform. By mid-August 2008, customers had downloaded more than 60 million applications, and sales came to an average of $1 million per day. Jobs speculated that the App Store might become “a $1 billion marketplace at some point in time.” Apple, which had to approve each application before it went on sale, kept 30% of the retail price for every product and let developers keep the rest.

Drawbacks to the iPhone included its low storage capacity, in comparison with other music players, and its lack of memory expandability; its relatively low-resolution camera, which lacked video capability; and a level of GPS functionality (introduced in the iPhone 3G) that fell short of what other smartphones offered. Its battery lasted as little as five hours during routine 3G use (or ten hours during 2G use); more important, the battery was non-replaceable and had a predicted life of roughly one year. To attract enterprise customers, the second iteration of the iPhone added features that the first iPhone lacked, such as advanced email security and support


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for the Microsoft Exchange email platform. Yet the iPhone 3G, while it could display Microsoft Office documents, lacked the ability to run or synchronize with them. For high-volume email users, its lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard and its failure to provide a cut-and-paste tool were also serious limitations.

In 2008, would-be “iPhone killer” products were rapidly appearing on the market. Mobile operators, in collaboration with handset makers, rushed to offer touchscreen devices: Sprint-Nextel distributed the Samsung Instinct, for example, while Verizon Wireless sold the LG Dare; both products hit the U.S. market in July 2008. Blackberry (which had a market-leading 45% share of the U.S. smartphone market) released a 3G device called the Bold in May and would release an advanced touchscreen phone called the Thunder by the end of the year. Other iPhone competitors included the Palm Centro; the Nokia N95; and the Diamond Touch, a 3G touchscreen handset that HTC Corp. introduced in May 2008.

(This case is adopted from an article written by David B. Yoffie and Michael Slind for Harvard Business School)

Role As a recently appointed research consultant in one of the leading business strategy research agencies in your country, you have been tasked by you directors to prepare a report that outlines the business environment of Apple Inc to aid in its future strategy formulation and planning. The report is to address the following areas:


Define the context of Apple Inc business strategy (1a)

Explain the significance of conducting a stakeholder analysis of Apple Inc (1 b)

Conduct an external environmental and organizational audit of the company i.e. Apple Inc (1c)

Apply strategic positioning techniques to the analysis of Apple Inc (1d)

Taking note of the current environment in your country, you are required to

Demonstrate an ability to think strategically by explaining the possible considerations for strategic analysis of the company in expanding operation


Prepare a strategic plan for Apple Inc based on the above analysis (2b)



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Pass is achieved by meeting all the requirements defined in the assessment criteria.

Merit Select and apply appropriate techniques (M2)

Characteristics / Possible Evidence – Indication of relevant theory and techniques with effective judgments being made. This can include use of environment audit models such as SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s 5 forces, value chain, etc.

Present and communicate appropriate findings (M3)

Characteristics / Possible Evidence – Application of a range of methods and sources of information used. Used of models such as Ansoff matrix, growth, stability, profitability, position matrix. The selection of methods justified.

Distinction Use critical reflection to evaluate own work and justify valid conclusions (D1)

Characteristics / Possible Evidence – The validity of the result judged individually as sound and relevant with self criticism of approach. Indicate through future directions in relation with competitor, customers and clients, industry and economy. Some of these models included maybe; Ansoff, portfolio matrix, planning systems, etc.

Demonstrate convergent, lateral and creative thinking (D3)

Characteristics / Possible Evidence – The ability to indicate that ideas generated and decisions considered with convergent and lateral thinking. There is evidence of realistic, logical and systematic approach to the strategic planning process. A clear evidence of good use of knowledge, application and understanding with strategic planning technique has been used.

Common Skills Grading

To achieve a PASS, students should gather sources and supporting material identified, selected and organised. Provide some appropriate visual methods, written medium appropriated to the intended audience, show information gathered through selected data collection technique with test and some conclusion drawn.

To achieve a MERIT, students should gather appropriate sources and supporting material identified, selected and organised. Provide appropriate visual presentation, designed produced and used to communicate effectively coupled with written medium appropriated to the intended audience. Information gathered shown through selected data collection technique with test and relevant conclusion drawn.

To achieve a DISTINCTION, students should gather relevant information analysed, evaluated and summarised. Provide appropriate visual presentation, designed produced and used to communicate effectively. Written medium to the intended audience should be relevant with appropriate information selected evaluate analysis


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and synthesised for used. There is clear suitability of solution evaluated for accuracy and fitness for purpose.


1. The assignment should have a cover page that includes the assignment title, assignment number, course title, module title, Lecturer/tutor name and student’s name. Attach all the pages of assignment brief/cover sheet with your report and leave them blank for official use.

2. Ensure that authenticity declaration has been signed.

3. This is an individual assignment.

4. Content sheet with a list of all headings and page numbers.

5. A fully typed up professionally presented report document. Use 12 point Arial or Times New Roman script.

6. Your assignment should be word-processed and should not exceed from 2,500 to 3,000 words in length.

7. Use the Harvard referencing system.

8. Exhibits/appendices are outside this limit.

9. The assignment should be not contain a bibliography – but should contain a list of any references used in the assignment.

NOTES TO STUDENTS FOR SUMMISSION Check carefully the submission date and the instructions given with the

assignment. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Ensure that you give yourself enough time to complete the assignment by the due date.

Do not leave things such as printing to the last minute – excuses of this nature will not be accepted for failure to hand-in the work on time.

You must take responsibility for managing your own time effectively.

If you are unable to hand in your assignment on time and have valid reasons such as illness, you may apply (in writing) for an extension.

Failure to achieve a PASS grade will results in a REFERRAL grade being given.

Take great care that if you use other people’s work or ideas in your assignment, you properly reference them in your text and any bibliography.

NOTE: If you are caught plagiarizing, you could have your grade reduced to zero, or at worst, you could be excluded from the course.