Strategic Management
Section A: Objective Type & Short Questions (30 marks)
Part one:
Multiple choice:
I. Horizontal integration is concerned with
a) Production
b) Quality
c) Product planning
d) All of the above
II. It refers to formal and informal rules, regulations and procedures that complement the company structure (1)
a) Strategy
b) Systems
c) Environment
d) All of the above
III. Strategic management is mainly the responsibility of (1)
a. Lower management
b. Middle management
c. Top management
d. All of the above
IV. Formal systems are adopted to bring ________ & amalgamation of decentralized units into product groups.
a. Manpower
b. Co-ordination
c. Production
d. All of the above
 This section consists of multiple choices and Short Notes type questions.
 Answer all the questions.
 Part one questions carry 1 mark each & Part two questions carry 5 marks each.
Examination Paper of Strategic Management
IIBM Institute of Business Management
IV.Like roots of a tree, ________of
organization is hidden from direct
view. (1)
a. Performance
b. Strategy
c. Core competence
d. All of the above
V. The actual performance
deviates positively over the
budgeted performance. This
is an indication of ………..
a. Superior
b. Inferior
c. Constant
d. Any of the above
VI. Criteria for making an evaluation is
a. Consistency with goals
b. Consistency with environment
c. Money
d. All of the above
VII. Changes in company ………. also
necessitates changes in the systems in
various degrees (1)
a. structure
b. system
c. strategy
d. turnover
VIII. Micro environment is the ……….
environment of a company. (1)
a. Working
b. Human
c. External
d. Internal
X Techniques used in environmental
appraisal are (1)
interaction analysis
b.Structured/ unstructured
expert/inexpert opinion
c.Dynamic modes and mapping
d.All of the above
Part Two:
1. Distinguish between a strategy and tactics. (5)
2. Give an outline of relation between ‘Strategy and Customer’ in brief? (5)
3. Explain in brief the concept of strategic thinking? (5)
4. What are the basic elements of planning? (5)
Section B: Caselets (40 marks)
 This section consists of Caselets.
 Answer all the questions.
 Each Caselet carries 20marks.
 Detailed information should form the part of your answer (Word limit 150 to 200 words).
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Examination Paper of Strategic Management
Caselet 1
Apple’s profitable but risky strategy
When Apple’s Chief Executive – Steven Jobs – launched the Apple iPod in 2001 and the
iPhone in 2007, he made a significant shift in the company’s strategy from the relatively
safe market of innovative, premium-priced computers into the highly competitive markets
of consumer electronics. This case explores this profitable but risky strategy.
Early beginnings
To understand any company’s strategy, it is helpful to begin by looking back at its roots.
Founded in 1976, Apple built its early reputation on innovative personal computers that
were particularly easy for customers to use and as a result was priced higher than those of
competitors. The inspiration for this strategy came from a visit by the founders of the
company – Steven Jobs and Steven Wozniack – to the Palo Alto research laboratories of the
Xerox Company in 1979. They observed that Xerox had developed an early version of a
computer interface screen with the drop-down menus that are widely used today on all
personal computers. Most computers in the late 1970s still used complicated technical
interfaces for even simple tasks like typing – still called ‘word-processing’ at the time.
Jobs and Wozniack took the concept back to Apple and developed their own computer – the
Apple Macintosh (Mac) – that used this consumer-friendly interface. The Macintosh was
launched in 1984. However, Apple did not sell to, or share the software with, rival
companies. Over the next few years, this non-co-operation strategy turned out to be a
major weakness for Apple.
Battle with Microsoft
Although the Mac had some initial success, its software was threatened by the introduction
of Windows 1.0 from the rival company Microsoft, whose chief executive was the wellknown
Bill Gates. Microsoft’s strategy was to make this software widely available to other
computer manufacturers for a license fee – quite unlike Apple. A legal dispute arose
between Apple and Microsoft because Windows had many on-screen similarities to the
Apple product. Eventually, Microsoft signed an agreement with Apple saying that it would
not use Mac technology in Windows 1.0. Microsoft retained the right to develop its own
interface software similar to the original Xerox concept.
Coupled with Microsoft’s willingness to distribute Windows freely to computer
manufacturers, the legal agreement allowed Microsoft to develop alternative technology
that had the same on-screen result. The result is history. By 1990, Microsoft had developed
and distributed a version of Windows that would run on virtually all IBM-compatible
personal computers – see Case 1.2. Apple’s strategy of keeping its software exclusive was a
major strategic mistake. The company was determined to avoid the same error when it
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Examination Paper of Strategic Management
came to the launch of the iPod and, in a more subtle way, with the later introduction of the
Apple’s innovative products
Unlike Microsoft with its focus on a software-only strategy, Apple remained a full-line
computer manufacturer from that time, supplying both the hardware and the software.
Apple continued to develop various innovative computers and related products. Early
successes included the Mac2 and PowerBooks along with the world’s first desktop
publishing program – PageMaker. This latter remains today the leading program of its kind.
It is widely used around the world in publishing and fashion houses. It remains exclusive to
Apple and means that the company has a specialist market where it has real competitive
advantage and can charge higher prices.
Not all Apple’s new products were successful – the Newton personal digital assistant did
not sell well. Apple’s high price policy for its products and difficulties in manufacturing also
meant that innovative products like the iBook had trouble competing in the personal
computer market place.
Apple’s move into consumer electronics
Around the year 2000, Apple identified a new strategic management opportunity to exploit
the growing worldwide market in personal electronic devices – CD players, MP3 music
players, digital cameras, etc. It would launch its own Apple versions of these products to
add high-value, user-friendly software. Resulting products included iMovie for digital
cameras and I DVD for DVD-players. But the product that really took off was the iPod – the
personal music player that stored hundreds of CDs. And unlike the launch of its first
personal computer, Apple sought industry co-operation rather than keeping the product to
Launched in late 2001, the iPod was followed by the iTunes Music Store in 2003 in the USA
and 2004 in Europe – the Music Store being a most important and innovatory development.
iTune was essentially an agreement with the world’s five leading record companies to
allow legal downloading of music tracks using the internet for 99 cents each. This was a
major coup for Apple – it had persuaded the record companies to adopt a different
approach to the problem of music piracy. At the time, this revolutionary agreement was
unique to Apple and was due to the negotiating skills of Steve Jobs, the Apple Chief
Executive, and his network of contacts in the industry. Apple’s new strategy was beginning
to pay off. The iPod was the biggest single sales contributor in the Apple portfolio of
In 2007, Apple followed up the launch of the iPod with the iPhone, a mobile telephone that
had the same user-friendly design characteristics as its music machine. To make the iPhone
widely available and, at the same time, to keep control, Apple entered into an exclusive
contract with only one national mobile telephone carrier in each major country – for
example, AT&T in the USA and O2 in the UK. Its mobile phone was premium priced – for
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Examination Paper of Strategic Management
example, US$599 in North America. However, in order to hit its volume targets, Apple later
reduced its phone prices, though they still remained at the high end of the market. This was
consistent with Apple’s long-term, high-price, high-quality strategy. But the company was
moving into the massive and still-expanding global mobile telephone market where
competition had been fierce for many years.
And the leader in mobile telephones – Finland’s Nokia – was about to hit back at Apple,
though with mixed results. But other companies, notably the Korean company Samsung
and the Taiwanese company, HTC, were to have more success later.
So, why was the Apple strategy risky?
By 2007, Apple’s music player – the iPod – was the premium-priced, stylish market leader
with around 60 per cent of world sales and the largest single contributor to Apple’s
turnover. Its iTune download software had been re-developed to allow it to work with all
Windows-compatible computers (about 90 percent of all PCs) and it had around 75 percent
of the world music download market, the market being worth around US$1000 million per
annum. Although this was only some 6 percent of the total recorded music market, it was
growing fast. The rest of the market consisted of sales of CDs and DVDs direct from the
leading recording companies.
In 2007, Apple’s mobile telephone – the iPhone – had only just been launched. The sales
objective was to sell 10 million phones in the first year: this needed to be compared with
the annual mobile sales of the global market leader, Nokia, of around 350 million handsets.
However, Apple had achieved what some commentators regarded as a significant technical
breakthrough: the touch screen. This made the iPhone different in that its screen was no
longer limited by the fixed buttons and small screens that applied to competitive handsets.
As readers will be aware, the iPhone went on to beat these earlier sales estimates and was
followed by a new design, the iPhone 4 in 2010.
The world market leader responded by launching its own phones with touch screens. In
addition, Nokia also launched a complete download music service. Referring to the new
download service, Rob Wells, senior Vice President for digital music at Universal
commented: ‘This is a giant leap toward where we believe the industry will end up in three
or four years’ time, where the consumer will have access to the celestial jukebox through
any number of devices.’ Equally, an industry commentator explained: ‘[For Nokia] it could
be short-term pain for long-term gain. It will steal some of the thunder from the iPhone and
tie users into the Nokia service.’ Readers will read this comment with some amazement
given the subsequent history of Nokia’s smart phones that is described in Case 9.2.
‘Nokia is going to be an internet company. It is definitely a mobile company and it is making
good progress to becoming an internet company as well,’ explained Olli PekkaKollasvuo,
Chief Executive of Nokia. There also were hints from commentators that Nokia was likely to
make a loss on its new download music service. But the company was determined to
ensure that Apple was given real competition in this new and unpredictable market.
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Examination Paper of Strategic Management
Here lay the strategic risk for Apple. Apart from the classy, iconic styles of the iPod and the
iPhone, there is nothing that rivals cannot match over time. By 2007, all the major
consumer electronics companies – like Sony, Philips and Panasonic – and the mobile phone
manufacturers – like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola – were catching up fast with new
launches that were just as stylish, cheaper and with more capacity. In addition, Apple’s
competitors were reaching agreements with the record companies to provide legal
downloads of music from websites.
Apple’s competitive reaction
As a short term measure, Apple hit back by negotiating supply contracts for flash memory
for its iPod that were cheaper than its rivals. Moreover, it launched a new model, the
iPhone 4 that made further technology advances. Apple was still the market leader and was
able to demonstrate major increases in sales and profits from the development of the iPod
and iTunes. To follow up this development, Apple launched the Apple Tablet in 2010 –
again an element of risk because no one really knew how well such a product would be
received or what its function really was. The second generation Apple tablet was then
launched in 2011 after the success of the initial model. But there was no denying that the
first Apple tablet carried some initial risks for the company.
All during this period, Apple’s strategic difficulty was that other powerful companies had
also recognized the importance of innovation and flexibility in the response to the new
markets that Apple itself had developed. For example, Nokia itself was arguing that the
markets for mobile telephones and recorded music would converge over the next five
years. Nokia’s Chief Executive explained that much greater strategic flexibility was needed
as a result: ‘Five or ten years ago, you would set your strategy and then start following it.
That does not work anymore. Now you have to be alert every day, week and month to
renew your strategy.’
If the Nokia view was correct, then the problem for Apple was that it could find its marketleading
position in recorded music being overtaken by a more flexible rival – perhaps
leading to a repeat of the Apple failure 20 years earlier to win against Microsoft. But at the
time of updating this case, that looked unlikely. Apple had at last found the best, if risky,
1. using the concepts in this chapter undertake a competitive analysis of both Apple and
Nokia – who is stronger? (10)
2. What are the problems with predicting how the market and the competition will change
over the next few years? What are the implications for strategy development? (10)
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Caselet 2
Mr. Ashwin is the marketing manager of the cosmetics. division of the Medwin Drug
Company. The company was well known as a leader in new proprietary drug and toiletry
products and had a good record of profitability. The cosmetics division had been especially
successful in women’s toiletries and .1/4.-o..,unctitk.:s and in the introduction of new
products, It always based its new-product development on market research respect to
what Would appeal to women and, after almost invariably test marketing a new product in
a few almost invarariably test marketing a new product in selected cities, launched it with a
heavy advertising and sales promotion program. It had hoped in this way not only to get a
large initial share of the markets but also to become so well entrenched that competitors.
who soon copy a successful product would not dislodge it from its market share.
After being cautioned by the president of Medwin Drug about the necessity for watching
costs more carefully, the division manager became increasingly concerned with two
opposing factors in his marketing strategy: ( 1) test marketing of new products (offering
them for sale first in a few test cities with area advertising and sales programs) tended
increasingly to give competitors advance information on new products, and certain
competitors had been able to copy a product almost as soon as Medwin could offer it
nationally and profited thereby from Medwin’s advertising; and (2) national advertising
and sales promotion expenses were rising so fast that a single major product failure would
have an important impact on division profits, on which his annual bonus was primarily
determined. On the one hand, he recognized the wisdom of test marketing, but he disliked
the costs and dangers involved. On the other hand, he hardly wished to take an unknown
risk of embarking on a national program until a test showed that the product did in fact
have a good market demand. Yet, he wondered whether all products should be test
Mr. Ashwin was asked to put this problem to his marketing department subordinates and
ask them what should be done. To give the strategy some meaning, he used as a case at
point the company’s new hair conditioner which had been developed on the basis of
promising, although preliminary, market research. He asked his sales manager whether he
thought the product would succeed and what he thought his “best estimate” of sales would
be. He also asked his advertising manager to give some cost estimates on launching the
Mr. Kiran, division sales manager, thought a while, then said he was convinced that the
product was a winner and that his best estimate would be sales of Rs. 5 crores per year for
at least five years. Mr. Desai, the advertising manager, said that the company could launch
the product for a cost of Rs. 1 crore the first year and some Rs. 25 lakhs per year thereafter.
He also pointed out that the test-marketing program would cost Rs. 15 lakhs, of which half
would be saved if these test cities were merely a part of a national program, and that the
testing program would delay the national program for six months. But he warned Mr.
Ashwin that test marketing would save the gamble of so much money on the national
promotion program. At this point, Mr. Sachdev, the new marketing research manager,
suggested that the group might come to a better decision if they used a proper decisionmaking
1. Which decision-making technique can be used in this situation? Why? (20)
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Examination Paper of Strategic Management
Section C: Applied Theory (30 marks)
1. What are the main characteristics of strategic decisions? (15)
2. What specific entrepreneurial aspects include the strategy formation process? (15)
 This section consists of Applied Theory Questions.
 Answer all the questions.
 Each question carries 15marks.
 Detailed information should form the part of your answer (Word limit 200 to 250 words).