I think Apple is a great example for a successful company, that had its' struggles.
Apple never gave up. Since the beginning, Apple produced expensive computers and didn't have great sales. Microsoft always dominated the market. Despite this, Apple continued to produce quality over quantity; whereas, Microsoft and its hardware vendors produced quantity over quality.
*My HP broke down in 3 years, I bought it for $900. My friend bought an Apple for $1000-something, and it broke down after 7 years.
To understand quality over quantity, think about this: Apple, IBM, and Microsoft started the computer revolution. Where is Apple now? Where is IBM now? Where is Microsoft now? Apple is dominating; IBM, except of big companies, no one has a clue about what they do, including me; Microsoft is just struggling with Windows, Office, WP7, tablet PC, etc. Although no company has fallen, Apple came up, while Microsoft and IBM went a bit down.
Apple's production of great quality products earned it an image of a respectable company. And when Apple launched the iPhone-family, everything changed. Apple dominated the market, because now Apple has quality and quantity. Whereas, companies like Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM are just starting to understand quality.
iPad is another innovation. Now there is huge chaos in table market; HP, Sony, RIM, Microsoft, Motorola, etc., are trying to meet the standards of the iPad. But it easn't easy to meet the standards of a company that has had higher standards since the start of the computer ear.
Lessons learned: 1. Despite good/bad sales, keep confidence, keep innovating, keep moving forward. 2. Quality over quantity. Produce high quality software/hardware, that will earn reputation and fans. 3. Look at the long run, not the short run. If you want to live in the market, you might want to consider making an image of yourself that everyone likes.
Please feel free to add other things.
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." - Ted Nelson "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users?" - Clifford Stoll
Lessons learned: 1. Despite good/bad sales, keep confidence, keep innovating, keep moving forward. Patent stuff that can't possibly work with current tech, then hammer the competition to keep innovation across the sectory down 2. Quality over quantity. Produce high quality software/hardware, that will earn reputation and fans. Then restrict what it can do so that when you do give your customers what they need, you can tell them it is a good thing 3. Look at the long run, not the short run. If you want to live in the market, you might want to consider making an image of yourself that everyone likes. Form a monopoly and charge exorbitant fees for allowing people to sell stuff they have written on the only channel you allow. Don't allow people to use videos/music they paid for on software other than your own. Keep techno-idiot media-types on side so they think you are the bee-knees
These are just the tip of the Iceberg and much of it has been going on for decades. Despite all of this there are hoardes of these fanbois defending almost every action I describe above. I can only ascribe this to some form of Stockholm Syndrome[^]. Sorry, but I forgot, they look so prurrrrty.
I think both Pathachiever and Keith Barrow are right. Its really nice to see entirely different aspects of present giants. In my view, Apple has developed a product that make him proud, and he thinks no one is going to dare to develop such product (like iPhone). But here comes the samsung that really kick ass every thing both with price and features. I think we should expect some behavior from apple after that and it did exactly what Keith Barrow has told above. Apple really paid the price for that as his shares drop from $700 to $500+ in just few months.
The Bottom line is: Open source will always win in today's world and monopoly will loose at last.
I'm 100% with you on the open source. In the very recent year, a lot of open source projects have dominated and major companies like Microsoft, Google are open sourcing many of their technologies as well.