Essay on Apple Powerbook Case Write-Up

1581 Words May 11th, 2011 7 Pages
Apple PowerBook Case Write-up

After the failed release of Apple’s first miniaturized computer, the Portable, the company was faced with the likelihood of losing significant ground in the mobile computing market if it didn’t bring a product to market at record speed. Apple had anticipated the Portable would be competitive enough to maintain market share until its longer term “Companion” project was complete. However, thirty-six months remained until Companion would be ready. Weak sales coupled with Compaq introducing the far superior LTE notebook created intense pressure to bring a product to market in the next 18 months that could serve as a placeholder until the Companion arrived. Bringing a product to market this quickly was no easy
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Second, they decentralized engineering and product marketing, with the immediate goal of building a new portable engineering group. Lastly, although their Product and Industrial Design teams remained centralized, it was agreed that personnel from those teams would co-locate for the PowerBook project to ensure everyone was “breathing the same air and talking the same talk”.

Revamping the organization structure was a key step but there were still many missteps and obstacles that nearly derailed the project. One major issue was the allocation of personnel. Despite the intense pressure and importance of the PowerBook, the company still listed the project very low in terms of priority. All of the “A” talent was dedicated to the Companion project and the PowerBook team was left with either junior level engineers or employees with only desktop computer experience. Inexperience coupled with intense pressure produced multiple mistakes along the way. Design standards were initially poor and prototype builds revealed several critical errors with manufacturing tolerances. All together, a list of 150 items was compiled of issues that the team felt needed to be addressed but it looked unlikely that the time and resources were available to make all the changes. Additionally, the PowerBook team had to overcome intense resistance from its manufacturing department. Manufacturing was accustomed to snap-together desktops and had a very

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