The iPod’s profile

Apples ability to have high levels of both Codified and Tacit knowledge meant they had a huge competitive advantage. Codified and tacit knowledge are complementary as one enables creation of the other. The balance between codified and tacit knowledge is extremely important to organisations Nonka and Takeuchi (1995) stated that “not only that tacit knowledge can be transformed into codified knowledge, but also, by using new codified knowledge, new kinds of tacit knowledge may be developed.” This idea has a drastic effect on Apple due to there high levels of both types of knowledge.

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The marketing and promotion of the iPod is innovative and extremely effective and has shown that Apple also has a high level of cultural knowledge throughout the organisation. The advertising campaign showing Silhouetted figures losing themselves in the music, with neon-coloured backgrounds and their all-white iPod’s has received many plaudits. The marketing for the iPod shows a high level of cultural knowledge because their adverts spoke directly to their market and were subtle and cool enough to raise the iPod’s profile and make it a must have gadget. Furthermore 0 using TV, the internet, print and outdoor posters Apple also placed the iPod on many different television programmes and movies e.g.

Blade three or the US version of the office. Cultural knowledge involves understanding the norms, values and beliefs of the market and using this knowledge to define opportunities in the industry. Business analysts of Apple have said that they have created an “iPod culture” with it being the must have gadget and a social status symbol. Overall one would be hard pressed to find a marketing campaign more effective and efficient than Apples. Apple has such a high level of cultural knowledge due to there size and reputation as they can hire the best marking executives who have expert knowledge, training and experience.

Apples iPod is a resounding success beyond all the organisations expectations. Before the iPod Apple had a low market share, where as now they are the industry leaders. Apple has sold over ten million iPod’s and is currently struggling to keep up with demand. Their success is based upon the high level of embodied knowledge that has gone into the marketing, production, design and distribution. As a result of Apple high levels of embodied and tacit knowledge it has been very hard for industry competitors to catch up. Apple is a large multinational corporation and this means that they benefit from “core competence which enables them to be innovative.

The different mix of departments and employees give Apple wide ranging mix of knowledge which is hard copy or identify. Furthermore Apple has created an atmosphere and culture throughout the organisation which promotes knowledge transfers and modernisation. Apple has created this culture through strong financial backing, excellent management ability and their operating capabilities.

Another attribute in Apples armoury is how well the firm as a whole learns and the speed at which they learn. Apple is always trying to create knowledge through acquiring new skills, technologies and practices. At all levels of the organisation there is a concerted effort for individuals to learn new skills as well as management learning how to introduce new processes and systems. Today Apple is still being innovative and knowledge hungry this is shown by the latest versions of the iPod from the shuffle to the nano. However recently there has been some criticism of the iPod as some of the batteries are failing and new batteries are expensive and only available in specialist Apple stores which are only located in the centre of major cities.

The iPod is a very good example of how knowledge management is a way of creating sustainable competitive advantage. Apple does have some competitors but due to there lack of knowledge they are a few years behind Apple. The iPod has used many different types of knowledge to help it become a success. Knowledge is a sort after asset by all firms but the difficulty comes because most knowledge is not explicit and is hard to quantify or see. Many business analysts say that the iPod is an icon for twenty first century business and culture.


Malhorta, Y. (1997) Current Business concerns and Knowledge Management. Available online at Nonka, I and Takeuchi, H. (2000). The Knowledge creating company: How Japanese companies crerate the dynamics of innovation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press