In his "It's difficult to "hard work" your way to success" post Seth Godin makes an interesting point about how Apple as an organization foiled the pundits who forecast their death and now has "a market cap 20% higher than Dell's". Innovation and ability to change, not just hard work were the keys:
"Apple didn't succeed by digging in, working all night and doing more of what they'd been doing. They succeeded because they willfully changed the game. And then changed it again"
"Another strategy is simply to recognize an opportunity for innovation and figure out who's already developed the pieces that simply need bringing together. The iPod is an excellent example of this approach. It's a great product, a great breakthrough - but Apple developed very little of it internally. Apple purchased many of the components from other companies, even using some of these companies in the digital design process. This permitted the company to get to market in just eight months. It was all about recognizing the opportunity and then responding in a 'brokering' fashion - looking to bring the pieces together from the outside rather than invent them internally.
While Google has developed very successful internal brainstorming processes for rapid innovation, Apple's creating the iPod reveals how partnership networks can invent new brands and revive businesses.