Learn About Apple's Mission Statement?

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Apple Company Mission Statement Not Innovative, Inspiring, or Jobs-ish

© Barbara Farfan for About.com

As a leader in innovation, you might expect that the mission statement of Apple would be all about innovation and inspiration. Both officially and unofficially, though, Apple's "mission statement" is barely a mission at all.

The Mission Statement, Global Vision, and Values of Apple, Inc.

It was widely reported that a famous quote from Steve Jobs in the 1980's was the Apple company mission statement:

"Man is the creator of change in this world. As such, he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them."

The "official" mission statement on the Apple corporate website, however, is not really a mission statement at all, but rather a list of products and past accomplishments. Apple's current Mission Statement is:

"Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."

Apple ends its press releases with a statement that resembles what a traditional mission statement is expected to be…

"Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings."

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Is Apple's Corporate Mission Statement from Steve Jobs?

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Steve Jobs (1955-2011).

As the most valuable company in U.S. history, there are many frequently asked questions about the Apple computer company, including questions about the Apple corporate mission statement, vision, and values, history, and founder.

The “official” Apple mission statement focuses completely on the present-day Apple offerings and products that already exist. Since a corporate mission statement is supposed to define the vision for the future, it is likely that an internal unpublished Apple corporate mission actually drives the Apple business. Clues about what the “real” Apple mission statement might be can be found in Apple corporate documents.

The New Apple Leadership Legacy

In the absence of anything that resembles a traditional visionary mission statement that inspires employees to greatness and guides them in their decision-making, this statement from Tim Cook to potential new Apple employees works better than any of the quasi-mission statements above...

"Apple has always been different.  A different kind of company with a different view of the world.  It's a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth - products that change lives and help shape the future.  It's a privilege we hold dear."

There seems to be a prevailing opinion that founder Steve Jobs was the charismatic visionary leader and, by comparison, Tim Cook's star is a bit dull.  For those who believe that, consider these mission statement-esque words, which Cook offered in an interview shortly after Steve Jobs passed away...

"We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.

We are constantly focusing on innovating.

We believe in the simple not the complex.

We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.

And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well."

These words from Tim Cook are infinitely more inspiring and instructive than any quasi-mission statement that Apple ever identified as a "mission" while Jobs was alive. And if Apple would own these words and fashion them into an official corporate document, it would be a mission that is worthy of founder Steve Jobs and one that "we believe." 

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Founder's Influence on the Apple Company Mission

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Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak, who started working together in 1970 to create a personal computer. The Apple company was incorporated in the state of California on January 3, 1977.

In 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh computer, the first personal computer without a programming language. However, the computer was expensive and software limited, so its growth was relatively small.

But as desktop publishing software became available, such as PageMaker, Macintosh became more popular.

During this time, Jobs was ousted from the company, and he went on to found another technology firm.

Macintosh computers began to see more competition from PCs, as software for PCs, particularly around graphic design and desktop publishing, became available.

In the 90's, Macintosh computers struggled, and Jobs was brought back to Apple.

Jobs worked to rebuild Apple's profitability. And in the late 90's he succeeded with the launch of iPod. They also launched the Apple Online Store, allowing customers to purchase online.

With the development of the iMac and MacBook, Apple became a dominant force in the personal computer realm. And in 2001, they launched the first Apple Stores, which became hugely successful throughout the country.

Since then, they have continued to innovate. Producing such new products like the iPad and MacBook Air, they have delivered powerful tools that are slim, portable and user-friendly. They also have managed to create products that are safer than PCs when it comes to viruses and hacking, protecting customer data.

From its humble beginnings, Apple has had a tumultuous history but is now one of the largest technology companies in the world. With a devoted fan-base which is quick to purchase any new product the company launches, Apple's continued success is assured.