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Instructions for Computer Industry College Essay Examples

Essay Instructions: The case:

The percentages below indicate the relative weight of different elements of your analysis (which should also serve as an indicator of how profitable relative degrees of attention to each answer may be ? in other words, don?t spend 500 words on Dell?s competitive strategy, worth 10% of the overall mark). The remaining 25% of the mark will be drawn from assessment of writing mechanics, grammar, and effectiveness. Do not neglect these. The Academic Success Centre ( is available to help.
Citations from the course text may be a page number [e.g., Costco was founded by Jim Sinegal (p. 144)] since I will be able to determine the source material from my own copy of the text. Any (optional) citations from outside materials must include sufficient information for me to find the source material. APA bibliography format will ensure that complete information is provided. Failure to cite/provide sources may result in loss of up to all writing mechanics points.
For this case, please answer the following questions:
Q1. How attractive was the personal computer industry (not Dell, the industry) as an arena in which to do business at the time of the case? (40%)
Q2. How did Dell, in terms of (generic) competitive strategy (10%) and specific tactics (25%), make the PC industry more attractive for itself?
Your write-up should address the two assigned questions primarily based on the facts discussed in the case, though you may also include your own research through other sources. Your write-up should answer just the assigned write up questions, within the word limit noted above. Focus your analysis on the time of the case, with any discussion of subsequent events receiving very limited airtime. (Examining subsequent events is not required for the case write-up, but may be useful in preparing for in-class discussion.) Your write up must be 1.5 spaced, and it should have 1" margins all around the text. Please use an 11 or 12 point font so I don't go blind. Concise writing is a valuable skill that I expect you to work on in this course, and points will be deducted for exceeding the length limit.
Please note that the first question is about industry attractiveness, which should suggest a specific framework discussed at length in class. Please also note that Porter?s Five Forces includes five (5) forces. It is not Porter?s four forces or Porter?s three forces. The question also requests an overall assessment, which should be clearly stated as a conclusion to your analysis.
Please note that the second question has two components: competitive strategy and specific tactics. When addressing the specific tactics, please focus on the same framework used for Q1 and focus on the change in strength given Dell?s strategy and positioning. Change in strength implies that you should use relative language (faster, stronger, cheaper, more expensive, weaker, better, more attractive, etc.) when assessing the elements of the framework.
My suggestions regarding formatting: Use a separate paragraph for each force. Be sure to make a clear assessment and give a complete, well supported argument. I suggest using a separate heading for each force, including your overall assessment for that force ? e.g., low, medium, high. You may also evaluate a force as falling between two ratings, if you are so inclined (e.g., medium low or medium high). Please use the name of each force, not ?Force 1?, in your write-up. If there are distinct categories of elements within a single force that exhibit different threat or power, you should identify them (groups of market participants or types of threats) and their respective strengths. You need not include headings in the word count.
For example:
(Force 1) ? medium
Argument detail and support using full sentences, paragraphs, etc.
More argument detail and support?
(Force 2) ? high
Argument detail and support using full sentences, paragraphs, etc.
More argument detail and support?
(Force 3) ? medium or low
Argument detail and support using full sentences, paragraphs, etc.
Category 1 medium due to ?
Category 2 low because ?

? (Force 4), (Force 5), Competitive Strategy, and so forth.

Additional study questions to think about when you are preparing for class (these are not for the write-up):
1. What was the attractiveness of the PC industry in 1981?
2. How did the PC industry come to have the level of attractiveness it had in the late 1990?s? To whom would you assign responsibility for the state of the industry?
3. How is value created in this industry, and who captures that value? Why do some parties capture value while others don't?
4. At the time of the case, why had Dell?s competitors not imitated Dell and removed its advantage?

Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Case Study on HP Compaq And The Computer Industry in 2001 And Beyond

Total Pages: 3 Words: 786 Works Cited: 0 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: Write a (Case Study) Full analysis on HP, Compaq, And The Computer Industry in 2001 And Beyond covering the following issues:

? What are the main issues (i.e., what problems and concerns does the company have)?
? Does the company have any resources (both tangible and intangible) or capabilities? What makes you think so?
? Does the company have a competitive advantage? Is it sustainable? Why or why not?
? What is the company?s business strategy? What makes you think so?
? How is the firm performing?
? What is going on in each segment of the firm?s general environment?
? Is the firm in an attractive industry(ies)? Why or why not?
- Examine each of the five forces (i.e., threat of new entrants, power of suppliers, power of buyers, threat of substitute products, and degree of rivalry)
? What information do you have about the firm?s competitors? Are there different strategic groups in this industry? Along what dimensions?
? How is the industry performing?
? What are your recommendations for how this firm can address its problems/concerns? Why?

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Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Apple's roots

Total Pages: 3 Words: 904 Bibliography: 2 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay

Essay Instructions: Apple's roots

Steve Jobs turned Apple Computers into one of the most powerful companies in the world in little more than a decade.

What strategy (or combination of strategies) did Steve Jobs use to make Apple into the powerhouse we know today? Has it changed over the years, or been constant? How does this strategy "fit" with the environment of the personal computer industry?

Step One. Begin this case with a brief SWOT analysis of the computer industry. Consider both the environment of the early years (1980's) and how it has evolved. For a quick-and-dirty analysis, Wikipedia gives a pretty good overview of Apple's history, from which you can sketch out a simple SWOT:

Apple, Inc. Retrieved August 26, 2009 from

Step Two. Consider which strategy (or strategies) Apple has used over the years. You may want to rely on Porter's four generic strategies, described in one of the required readings for this module, or you might prefer one of the strategic models presented in the optional reading by Comeford and Callaghan. The choice is yours.

The following article will help you evaluate Apple's recent strategic moves, so you can comment on whether or not the strategy has changed:

Burrows, P., Hesseldahl, A., & Crocket, R. (2007). WELCOME TO PLANET APPLE; how the high tech maverick became a global trendsetter. Business Week. July 09. 2007, Issue 4042, page 88

Step 3. Write up your analysis in a three to five page paper (use the format specified in modules 1 & 2) and submit it to coursenet before the end of this module.

Case expectations:
Continue the formatting and organization standards of the previous case assignments. Evaluate both the degrees of good and bad fit between Apple's strategy and its industry environment. Be sure to document all sources with citations and a reference list (or footnotes).

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Excerpt From Essay:

Title: Matching Dell

Total Pages: 5 Words: 1454 Sources: 0 Citation Style: MLA Document Type: Research Paper

Essay Instructions: Matching Dell

Publication Date:
Jun 6, 1999
Availability: In Stock
Jan W. Rivkin, Michael E. Porter
Type: Case (Library)
Product Number: 9-799-158
Length: 31p
After years of success with its vaunted "Direct Model" for computer manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, Dell Computer Corp. faces efforts by competitors to match its strategy. This case describes the evolution of the personal computer industry, Dell's strategy, and efforts by Compaq, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Gateway 2000 to capture the benefits of Dell's approach. Students are called on to formulate strategic plans of action for Dell and its various rivals.
Instruction ..what are the keys to Dell's success?how have the structure and dynamics of the PC industry changed over the last 10years?what are their recent strategies?what should they do going forward?

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Excerpt From Essay:

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