Looks like the French at least have the right idea. Stop things being sold cheap and then you can start improving quality. The problem these days seems to be business seems to be run on these principals
1) Cut costs to the bone to get the cheapest price
2) keep this going for as long as possible, buying up smaller players on the way
3) when this stratergy fails SUE SUE SUE on what ever you can find.
There are however trade offs, in this model they seem to be
1) Quality, building cheap as possible leads to scrimping wherever possible and poor build quality. On this note one of my friends who used to be an avid anti apple guy (and still is not entirely convinced) realised the difference in quality between my iPhone 4S and his samsung galaxy S4 with its cheep plastic back and clunky interface. (His words not mine)
2) Loss of inovation. Bigger companies buy smaller more innovative companies and all to often impose their structures stifling the very inovation the company was bought for. A better alternative would be to run the business like a group of small start ups allowing each company to continue as before with minimal intrusion . This is in complete contrast to what is happening in the bioscience sector and by he sounds of it more and more in the tech industry
3) Eventually we end up with a few large companies pumping out incremental 'improvements' rather than truely inovative leaps. This could cause consumer apathy and so eventually loss of profits for even the largest companies
Apple's model may not be perfect but their focus on making the best product THEY can rather than competing with others leads to great products that most peoe love. It is also a philosophy that I try and adhere to in my work. Not just designing something that works but designing something that works as well as I can make it work.
Targets are the death of companies, goals give a company vision!