Global markets for the Company’s products and services are highly competitive and subject to rapid technological change. If the Company is unable to compete effectively in these markets, its financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
The Company competes in highly competitive global markets characterized by aggressive price cutting, with resulting downward pressure on gross margins, frequent introduction of new products, short product life cycles, evolving industry standards, continual improvement in product price/performance characteristics, rapid adoption of technological and product advancements by competitors, and price sensitivity on the part of consumers.
The Company’s ability to compete successfully depends heavily on its ability to ensure a continuing and timely introduction of innovative new products and technologies to the marketplace. The Company believes it is unique in that it designs and develops nearly the entire solution for its products, including the hardware, operating system, numerous software applications, and related services. As a result, the Company must make significant investments in research and development and as such, the Company currently holds a significant number of patents and copyrights and has registered and/or has applied to register numerous patents, trademarks and service marks. By contrast, many of the Company’s competitors seek to compete primarily through aggressive pricing and very low cost structures. If the Company is unable to continue to develop and sell innovative new products with attractive margins or if other companies infringe on the Company’s intellectual property, the Company’s ability to maintain a competitive advantage could be negatively affected and its financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
The Company currently markets certain mobile communication and media devices, and third-party digital content and applications. The Company faces substantial competition from companies that have significant technical, marketing, distribution and other resources, as well as established hardware, software and digital content supplier relationships. Additionally, the Company faces significant price competition as competitors reduce their selling prices and attempt to imitate the Company’s product features and applications within their own products or, alternatively, collaborate with each other to offer solutions that are more competitive than those they currently offer. The Company also competes with illegitimate ways to obtain third-party digital content and applications. The Company has entered the mobile communications and media device markets, and many of its competitors in these markets have significantly greater experience, product breadth and distribution channels than the Company. Because some current and potential competitors have substantial resources and/or experience and a lower cost structure, they may be able to provide such products and services at little or no profit or even at a loss. The Company also expects competition to intensify as competitors attempt to imitate the Company’s approach to providing these components seamlessly within their individual offerings or work collaboratively to offer integrated solutions.
The Company currently receives subsidies from its carriers providing cellular network service for iPhone. There is no assurance that such subsidies will be continued at all or in the same amounts upon renewal of the Company’s agreements with these carriers or in agreements the Company enters into with new carriers.
In the market for personal computers and peripherals, the Company faces a significant number of competitors, many of which have broader product lines, lower priced products, and larger installed customer bases. Consolidation in this market has resulted in larger and potentially stronger competitors. Price competition has been particularly intense as competitors selling Windows-based personal computers have aggressively cut prices and lowered product margins. The Company also faces increased competition in key market segments, including consumer, SMB, education, enterprise, government and creative markets. An increasing number of Internet devices that include software applications and are smaller and simpler than traditional personal computers compete for market share with the Company’s existing products.
The Company is currently the only authorized maker of hardware using the Mac OS. The Mac OS has a minority market share in the personal computer market, which is dominated by computer makers using competing operating systems, most notably Windows. The Company’s financial condition and operating results depend substantially on the Company’s ability to continually improve the Mac platform to maintain functional and design advantages. Use of unauthorized copies of the Mac OS on other companies’ hardware products may result in decreased demand for the Company’s hardware products, and could materially adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and operating results.
There can be no assurance the Company will be able to continue to provide products and services that compete effectively. 36