“What is the REAL Apple, Inc. Mission Statement?” is a question that mission statement writers and researchers ask every day. With one “official” mission statement, two UNofficial mission statements and some very consistent leadership messages from founder Steve Jobs, and current CEO Tim Cook, the answer to the often asked question about the Apple, Inc. mission statement is not an easy one.
Scroll past the photo to find the company mission statement(s) of the Apple corporation.
If it’s true that the best organizations have the best mission statements, then surely a leading edge global corporate phenomenon like Apple, Inc. MUST have an equally enviable company mission statement. Judging by the mission statement that the Apple corporation makes publicly available, the opposite seems to” be true.
The “official” Apple Mission Statement published on the Apple corporate website is barely a mission statement at all. If it wasn’t labeled as a “mission,” it would probably be mistaken as a list of past accomplishments, rather than a forward-thinking vision driving the company and its employees to create the Apple, Inc. future.
As identified, the “official” Apple mission statement is:
“Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.”
It’s hard to believe that Apple, the envy of both the global consumer electronics and the global retail industries, doesn’t have an equally enviable guidance document driving it. This official Apple mission statement doesn’t meet any of the criteria that a “best” mission statement generally possesses.
A better “mission statement” can be found in its public relations communications. At the end of its press releases, Apple often tacks on a statement that better resembles a traditional mission statement, and better describes what global business leaders and consumers know the Apple corporation to be. That PR “mission statement” is:
“Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”
While structured more like a traditional corporate mission statement, this Apple PR statement still lacks the inspirational quality that we would expect from an innovative organization like Apple, Inc.
The inspiration and focus behind the creative genius of the Apple corporation is easier to find in its “Unofficial” Mission Statements.
Back in the 1980’s it was frequently reported that the mission statement of Apple came from an often-quoted statement from Founder Steve Jobs:
“Man is the creator of change in this world. As such, he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them.”
Generally at least the first mission statement of any company logically comes from its founder. And from what we know of Steve Jobs, it’s easy to see that these words expressed the personal beliefs of Jobs, and as such, are an accurate expression of a mission that drove him. However, it still lacks the substance, structure and specificity of a mission statement that changes the way that people interact with their world.
Because Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc. seemed to be inextricable, with Jobs’ passing, it was feared that the Apple corporation would lose its sense of “mission” altogether, and eventually fail in the absence of the vision of its passionately-driven founder.
But these words from new CEO Tim Cook should have calmed those fears because it is more of a mission statement than any official company documents that had been shared before it. Leader Tim Cook offered this “mission” to Apple’s employees and Apple customers around the world shortly after Jobs passed away:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.
We are constantly focusing on innovating.
We believe in the simple not the complex.
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
Whether this has been fashioned into an official corporate document and awarded the designation of “Apple Inc. Mission Statement,” these words embrace all the aspects of a “best mission statement,” and are worthy of the innovative vision of the company’s founder.
So, what IS the Apple, Inc. mission?
In the the absence of any official change made publicly available by Apple leaders, the official Apple Inc. mission statement is the first non-mission statement above. But if that’s the best that Apple has to offer, its executive team might want to consider adopting the words that can be found on the Diversity page of its website:
“Apple has always been different. A different kind of company with a different view of the world. It’s a special place where we have the opportunity to create the best products on earth – products that change lives and help shape the future. It’s a privilege we hold dear.”
These words are also attributed to Tim Cook, who seemingly is much more of a charismatic and visionary leader than most people give him credit for being.