Monday, May 3, 2010


Ford Motor Company

Fact File:

Founder: Henry Ford, Alexander Malcomson, John W. Anderson,

C.H. Bennett, James Couzens, Horace E. Dodge, John F. Dodge,

Vernon C. Fry, John S. Gray, Horace H. Rackham, Albert Strelow,

and Charles J. Woodall.

Distinction: Completely transformed the process of manufacturing.

Primary products: Cars, Trucks, auto finance.

Annual sales: $162.558 billion.

Number of employees: 364,550.

Major competitors: DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Toyota.

Chairman and CEO: William C. Ford Jr.; President and CEO:

Jacques A. Nasser.

Headquarters: Dearborn, Mich.

Year founded: 1903.

The Ford Motor Company's primary claim to the corporate hall o f fame has

always been its invention of the assembly line, a remarkably simple yet

stunningly effective innovation that completely changed the course of

manufacturing. In ensuing years, Ford has additionally become known as a

global goliath, an amalgamator of some of the best known brands in the auto

business, and even a leader in the industrial charge toward the Internet. These

days, however, it is also developing a new and somewhat surprising reputation

for environmentalism.

In an Industry never associated with "green" activism, many consider Ford's

drive in this direction downright astonishing. It began in May 2000, when

recently installed board chairman William Clay Ford Jr.greatgrandson


founder Henry Fordconceded

for the first time that sport utility vehicles emit

more pollution than cars and can be dangerous to others on the road. He

pledged to make these SUVs, which accounted for 20 percent of the

company's sales and most of its profit, cleaner and safer. He followed through

by promising to boost their fuel efficiency by 25 percent over five years. And


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he challenged his competitors to do likewise.

The initiatives caught many off guard, but Ford has always been good at

assessing public taste and adjusting its output accordingly. The Model T, its

first success, dominated the embryonic automobile market by providing

inexpensive and reliable transportation for the earliest drivers. When sales

lagged, the company developed flashier and more comfortable alternatives.

And as demand continually evolved, so did Ford. It introduced new features,

became one of the first automakers to expand overseas, modernized its

facilities, opened a finance subsidiary, and even purchased complementary

companies to help expand its market share.


a stable of brands that includes Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lincoln,

Mercury, Mazda, Land Rover, and Volvo, as well as the Ford brand namethe

company is the world's numberone

truck manufacturer and second largest car

maker. Its Ford Motor Credit division is the top auto finance company in the

United States. It has implemented computer programs that are as innovative as

its development of the assembly line. And, according to consumer demand, it

is leading its industry toward greater environmental responsibility.

The Ford Motor Company began operation in 1903, when Henry ford and 11

associates raised $28,000 to open a tiny manufacturing plant in a Detroit

wagon factory. Initially the company's vicepresident

and chief engineer, Ford

had been looking forward to this nearly all his life. A few weeks later, he sold

his first twocylinder

Model A to a Chicago dentist. Over the next 14 months,

he sold 1,700 more.

Born in 1863 in Greenfield Township, Mich., Ford always preferred

mechanical pursuits to the farm duties he was expected to perform with his

five younger siblings. His fate was sealed at age 13, when he saw a steam

engine traveling under its own power. Ford jumped off the wagon on which he

was riding with his father to examine it, and decided right there to become an

engineer. Three years later he left for Detroit and a job as an apprentice

machinist with the Michigan Car Company. After two years, he accepted a

better position as an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company.

During his stint with Edison, Ford began work on a gasolinepowered


In 1896 he produced his first: the Quadricycle, which had four bicyclelike

wheels, a tiller for steering, and two forward gears. In order to focus fulltime

on advancing his ideas, he left Edison in 1899 to open the Detroit Automobile

Company. That enterprise failed, as did a second one started two years later.

But his third attempt, which he named after himself and opened with

sufficient capital to weather initial difficulties, proved a winner.

The first few years of Ford Motor were heady ones indeed. The firm expanded

rapidly, opening Ford Motor Company of Canada just one year after its

founding. By 1907, it was exporting cars to Europe. Within a decade, it had

plants in Australia, South America, and Japan. At the same time, Ford kept

tinkering with new designs. He used one letter of the alphabet after another to

designate them, although many never made it out of his shop. One that did


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was the Model N, a spunky fourcylinder

vehicle that sold for $500. Since he

was almost solely responsible for these early products, it was not surprising

that Ford soon became the company's president and majority owner.

His big breakthrough came in 1909 when he unveiled the Model T. Also

known as the Tin Lizzie, it really captured the public's attention and Ford

quickly received an astounding 10,000 orders for them. Demand forced him to

open a larger plant in nearby Highland Park, but even that proved insufficient

because of a production process that had individual workers assembling one

entire care before moving on to another. Ford put his engineering skills to

work on the problem and in 1913 found a way to speed up production by

using and improving upon a recent manufacturing innovation called the

assembly line. At first, it had workers walking from one partially built car to

the next in order to install the same component over and over, eventually, he

improved the procedure by putting everything on conveyor belts so parts and

cars would travel directly to produce 168,000 carshelping

the Model T

account for onethird

of the entire American automobile market.

Ford was hardly finished, though. He bought out his partners and built the

world's largest industrial complex. He purchased the Lincoln Motor Company

and began producing trucks, tractors, and even airplanes. (He even ran for the

U.S. Senate, but lost.) And when Model T sales lagged due to increasing

competition shortly after the millionth one was produced, Ford developed a

faster and more comfortable version that he named after his first product. This

new Model A was announced in 1927, and 400,000 orders were placed even

before production began. Almost 2 million were sold until the stock market

crash two years later.

But even the Great Depression could not stop Ford. Ford introduced the

powerful V8

engine and mediumpriced

Mercury line which boosted

sales…that is until World War II temporarily halted civilian production.

During the war, his plants turned out B24

bombers, jeeps, tanks and related

machinery. And in 1945, passenger cars again graced his assembly lines. Ford

died two years later at age 83, however, and did not have long to savor the


The system he developed, nonetheless, continued functioning smoothly.

Innovative models like the Thunderbird sports car were regularly unveiled,

and shortly after the company went public in 1956 in the largest stock issue to

date it produced its 50millionth

vehicle. Grandson Henry Ford II took over,

with daytoday

responsibilities going to heavy hitters, such as Robert

McNamara (who resigned in 1961 to become Secretary of Defense) and Lee

Iacocca (who left in 1978 to assume the presidency of Chrysler). A series of

down years followedas

they did for all American automakersthanks



arrogance and increasing Japanese competition. But innovative

cars, such as the Taurus and Escort, along with the Fseries

pickup truck,

helped bring Ford back. By 1986, earnings exceeded those of General Motors

for the first time in six decades and it purchased Aston Martin, Jaguar and

other companies. Just five years later, though, another period of malaise and


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stagnation led Ford to announce its largest oneyear

loss ever. Desperate for

recovery, the company finally decided that enough was enough.

Beginning in the mid1990s,

as Ford produced its 250millionth

vehicle, the

company initiated a series of changes that were more farreaching


anything since Henry first cranked up his assembly line. Chief among them

was Ford 2000, an ambitious plan to eliminate duplication in operations

worldwide. They also included development of several innovative new

models, an agreement with Nissan to sell Fords in Japan, and the acquisition

of Hertz, the world's largest rental car company. These moves were soon

joined by the purchase of Europe's largest auto maintenance chain, and plans

to launch a similar effort in the United States; the acquisition of Sweden's AB

Volvo, which gave Ford additional luxury lines along with increased

European presence; aggressive movement into previously under served

countries like China, India, and Vietnam; and joint ventures with Microsoft

and to build cars specifically for online customers and deliver

them through local dealerships.

Ford additionally began using computers to cut costs and development times

for everything from crash simulations to initial car designs. (The former,

which cost $60,000 a piece in 1985, could be run for only $10 in 2001; the

latter, which once took 12 people 12 weeks to complete, now could be

accomplished in three weeks by a single person.) To further increase computer

literacy among its employees, Ford also announced a trailblazing program that

permits all workers to purchase a home computer, color printer and Internet

access for just $5 a month.

The most striking program of all has been Ford's newly expressed effort to

"merge industrialism with environmentalism," as the chairman and family heir

told Newsweek in the spring of 2000but

that is hardly the end of its ongoing

transformation. Barely a month after that announcement the company became

one of the first major manufacturers to offer full medical benefits for samesex

partners of its employees, and one month later said it might begin building

cars in Japanese plants run by its partner Mazda Motor Corporation as soon as


Henry Ford may not have agreed with all these moves. But he probably would

be pleased that, through them, his company remains firmly atop the industry

he helped establish.


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Apple Computer

Fact File:

Founder: Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Mike


Distinction: Brought computing to the people.

Primary products: Personal computers, peripherals, multimedia


Annual sales: $6.134 billion.

Number of employees: 9,736.

Major competitors: Compaq, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems.

CEO: Steve Jobs.

Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif.

Year founded: 1976.

Once upon a time, in a tale that's often told, two young Steves were practicing

a kind of 20th century alchemy in a tracthouse

neighborhood in northern

California... when lightning struck. Working in a nondescript garage, the pair

was twisting wires and chanting incantations in an obscure language called

Programming when they came up with a device that would change the world.

On April Fools Day of 1976, the borrowed the name of the recording label

used by their favorite musicians and brought their first Apple Computer into

the sunshine.

Throughout the land, those awaiting a sign instantly recognized that this

device would indeed change their lives. It put an astounding powerpreviously

available only to a select fewdirectly

into the fingertips of the masses. It did

have some limitations and cost almost its weight in gold, but it sparked a

revolution nonetheless in which the two young Steves were revered as gods.

From the start, an eager flock willingly offered financial and creative

assistance and the Apple flourished. Many of those who served it realized

riches far beyond their wildest dreams. Many others clamored to join the

crusade. Disciples built even newer devices that captivated even more

fanatical followers. The two young Steves were on top of the world.

Then, everything collapsed. Another messiah offered a compelling alternative.

Supporters split into opposing camps. Visionary leadership disappeared. Both


Steves left their positions of influence, replaced by a series

of pretenders who tired in vain to recapture the lightning. Reluctantly and

otherwise, followers turned away from the device they once worshipped.

But just when all seemed lost, those still struggling with the oncemighty

empire had a revelation. They met with one of the two nowmiddleaged


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Steves and pleaded with him to return. To most everyone's surprise, he didalbeit

cautiously at first. And, in virtually no time at all, he showed that he still

had the touch.

When Steven Paul Jobs initially moved back to his native northern California

in 1975, the 20yearold

college dropout was casting about for something

interesting to do following his recent pilgrimages to India and a communal

farm in Oregon. Working as a videogame

programmer for Atari, he got wind

of a hobbyist group in Menlo Park called the Homebrew Computer Club. He

began attending evening gatherings, and was there when a member showeed

up with his spanking new Altair personal computer. The primitive contraption

had been built from a kit ordered through an Albuquerque mailorder

company, and to folks like the Homebrewers it was a very big deal. Most in

attendance saw potential. Jobsw envisioned a business plan.

Lacking the technical skills needed to make his vision a reality, Jobs teamed

up with another longhaired

Homebrewer named Steve Wozniak. "Woz," as

this 25yearold

son of a Lockheed missile engineer was known, had already

written programming language and designed a circuit board. He had also

parlayed his passion for electronics into a job at Silicon Valley pioneer


but he recognized the possibilities n what Jobs envisioned.

To raise the funds necessary to proceed, he sold off his programmable

calculator while Jobs parted with his Volkswagen van. The pair then got down

to business in the garage of Jobs' parents' home in Los Altos.

The first product of their collaboration was the Apple I, a basic circuit board

they sold through a local retailer for $500. Ready to move their business to the

next level but recognizing their limitations, they convinced 34yearold


Markkula. Markkula was a recently retired electrical engineer from Intel who

became a multimillionaire on its initial public offering. With Wozniak focused

on technical matters, Jobs and Markkula gathered cash and loan commitments,

leased a building in Cupertino, and formally incorporated on the third day of


Their first honesttogoodness

computer, the Apple II, was introduced some

15 months later. Built almost singlehandedly by the resourceful Woz, it

debuted in 1978 at the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire. Observers were

instantly smitten with this powerful new selfcontained

gadget that attractively

incorporated screen, keyboard,

power source, and graphic capabilities.

Annual sales quickly reached $300 million, landing the company on the

Fortune 500 and attracting the attention of the media (along with wouldbe

competitors such as Tandy and Commodore). Hordes of early adopters made a

beeline for the technology. By 1980, sales of personal computers topped $1


The scruffy gang at Apple had captured more than 15 percent of the rapidly

expanding action when IBM belatedly realized it could no longer ignore these

upstarts. And when the king of the mainframes did jump into the desktop

marketplace, its traditional suitandtie

image (not to mention its long

electronic heritage) proved compelling to major businesses. Apple's once

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insatiable appealwhich

always relied heavily on hobbyists, educators, and

artistic typesnever

really crossed into the world of big businesssuddenly

stopped growing. In fact, its market share began a precipitous decline that

would increasingly prove difficult to stem.

Jobs and Apple were convinced that they would prevail. They stubbornly

cultivated an anticorporated image that further accentuated their differences

with the new sales leader, which had the ultimate and unintended effect of

driving the critical corporate market even further from their door. AT the

same time, they consistently widened their technological lead.

The company's next groundbreaking

innovation began forming shortly after

Jobs toured Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (or PARC) in 1979. Xerox

produced a very early computer called the Alto, which was the first to use

both a mouse and graphical interface.

He eventually incorporated the revolutionary graphical developed (but never

used) by the legendary PARC lab into Apple's third big introductionthe


computer (named after his own young daughter). The Lisa was the first

commercial computer to put both ideas together. With it, he was drawing the

definitive line in the sand between his nonconformist Apple corps and its


rival. But while Lisa was a technological marvel and a brilliant

esthetic accomplishment, its $10,000 price tag proved too steep for

consumers. IBM's newest PCs, on the other hand, flew off shelves.

Apple pressed on. A band of its top engineers had been working on a totally

different computer called Macintosh while Jobs was engrossed with the Lisa.

It was based on a remarkable clickanddrag

technology that even a small

child could learn and use. In a move that forever split Apple into bitter

factions, Jobs unilaterally appropriated the project as his own after he was

removed from the failing Lisa endeavor. He drove out those uncomfortable

with his lead, relocated the development team into its own building, raised a


flag, and took over "the computer for the rest of us."

Its introductory commercial, one of his most famous advertisements ever

made, was designed to definitively drive the computerbuying

public into

either Apple or IBM camps. And its message remains as obvious today as it

did on that 1984 Super bowl Sunday, when the gritty vision of a monotheistic


blatant warning against a big Bluedominated

computer worldwas

bashed by a freedomloving

young woman with a sledge hammer. The intense

ode to George Orwell, directed by Ridley "Blade Runner" Scott, cost #1

million to make, and aired one time. It left more than a few company

executives nervous and football fans puzzled, it's as seen in almost half of all

American homes. By the next morning when Jobs officially unveiled his new


baby, the public was primed and ready. Apple says 72,000 Macs

were sold in 100 days. Within a year, company sales hit $2 billion. This

changed everything in computer operating systems, shifting operation from


DOS commands to the direct manipulation of windows and


The decades since the advent of the Mac have been up and down for Apple, to


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say the least. The Macintosh rollout

would be its last high point for more than

a decade. Woz had moved on practically from the moment his offspring took

off. He snagged an engineering degree, staged rock concerts, and taught kids

about computers. Jobs was unceremoniously ousted in 1985 by John Sculley,

a former Pepsi executive brought into Apple specifically to tighten up the

company's image on Wall street. Just 30 and quite wealthy, Jobs didn't wait

long before starting another iconoclastic computer company called NeXT. He

also bought Pixar Animation Studios, which would go on to produce the

acclaimed A Bug's Life and Toy Story movies.

Apple continued to falter. IBM couldn't hold its advantage in the desktop

business as lowerpriced

"clones" flooded the marketplace. However, the

technological conventions it establishedalthough

decidedly inferior to


the undisputed industry standard. More than 95 of every 100

customers began choosing an "IBMcompatible"

computer, leaving Apple in

the dust. Sculley was eventually replaced by Michael Spindler, who in turn

was replaced by Gil Amelio. And then, in July 1997, Amelio was ousted and

the prodigal Steve was welcomed back as "interim" CEO.

One day after his returnfor

which he was initially rewarded with just one

share of stock and $1 a year in salaryJobs

began work on a device that would

once again change the world: the iMac. Introduction of this striking

translucent computer one year later reaffirmed Apple as the leader on the

technological curve, and jumpstarted

its long languishing sales as well as its

depressed stock price. Several record quarters later, in January 2000, the board

rewarded his efforts with a Gulfstream V jet and $10 million in stock options.

In turn he dropped the "interim" from his title.

Can lightning strike twice in the corporate world…Who knows? But as Jobs

continues rebuilding his once and future empire, he demonstrates with every

move that no ending can be written just yet for this ofttold


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