From Technology to Luxury and Fashion: Could Apple Cross the Boundaries?
Apple's October 2013 announcement of hiring Burberry's acclaimed CEO, Angela Ahrendts, has fueled media speculation in the fashion and business press about Apple's goals for the future. Ahrendts became a star and the highest paid executive in the fashion industry after overhauling once venerable, but tired, British luxury brand, Burberry. She was brought in to ran Apple's retail and online stores, but few believe it is the full story. Adding to the rumors, Ahrendts was second luxury CEO hire last year. In July of 2013 Apple named Yves St. Laurent CEO and chief designer Paul Denve vice president, to work on unnamed "special projects". Rumor is that there has to be more behind the hires than Apple is admitting. While some anticipate Apple merging fashion and technology in wearable computing products, others expect full-fledged expansion to luxury goods market with handbags, luggage and even handbags and clothing. The pundits are divided on Apple's potential success in the various scenarios. The naysayers argue that "Apple's strength is everything that fashion is not"; Steve Jobs, Apple's creative genius is dead; and that luxury equals scarcity whereas Apple produces for masses. In the past most attempts to merge technology with fashion failed: HP's laptops that looked like women's clutches, Twitter dress, Texas instruments digital watches and Casio calculator watch. (...) Paper explores whether a technology company can align its organization and successfully extend its brand toward luxury positioning. (...) The contribution of this study is that it contemplates the feasibility mainly at organizational strategy level. That is, it explores how does corporate strategy, bahavior and image fit with the key factors for success in the luxury business model. This is field much less explored in the literature. (fragment of text)
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