The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, peripherals, and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software, and services to provide its customers new products and solutions with superior ease-of-use, seamless integration, and innovative design. As part of its strategy, the Company continues to expand its platform for the discovery and delivery of third-party digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. As part of the iTunes Store, the Company’s App Store and iBookstore allow customers to discover and download applications and books through either a Mac or Windows-based computer or through “iOS devices,” namely iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Company’s Mac App Store allows customers to easily discover, download and install Mac applications. The Company also supports a community for the development of third-party software and hardware products and digital content that complement the Company’s offerings. The Company’s strategy also includes expanding its distribution network to effectively reach more customers and provide them with a high-quality sales and post-sales support experience.
The Company participates in several highly competitive markets, including the market for mobile communications and media devices with its iOS devices; personal computers with its Mac computers; portable digital players with iPod; and distribution of third-party digital content and applications with the iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store. While the Company is widely recognized as a leading innovator inthe markets where it competes, these markets are highly competitive and subject to aggressive pricing. To remain competitive, the Company believes that continual investment in research and development and marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products and technologies. The Company’s research and development spending is focused on investing in new hardware and software products, and in further developing its existing products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod hardware; iOS and OS X operating systems; and a variety of application software and online services.
The Company uses a variety of direct and indirect distribution channels, such as its retail stores, online stores, and direct sales force, and third-party cellular network carriers, wholesalers, retailers, and value-added resellers. The Company believes that sales of its innovative and differentiated products are enhanced by knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the hardware and software integration, and demonstrate the unique