Mountain View, California-based Thin Multimedia, which pioneered multimedia content delivery through new transmission technologies for wireless devices and TV sets, offers a good example. Although confident in the technological superiority of their offering, the founders worried that mobile handset vendors would enter this space and block other ven- dors’ entry. Technology pioneers are in a favorable position to work with a variety of equipment manu- facturers and service providers simultaneously and can present themselves as independent. They negotiate nonexclusive licenses. Technol- ogy pioneers avoid locking themselves into exclusive agreements. A more effective approach is to pursue multiple licensing agreements, as Kineto Wireless has done, thereby increasing the odds that their tech- nology is adopted across the market. Although telecom operators have sought to acquire Kineto Wireless, the company has so far resisted. “It is always a balancing act,” notes one manager, “as all of your partners are also potential [mutual] competitors.” Technology pioneers need to manage growth through internal development while at the same time driving product adoption and protecting their intel- lectual property. As one of the founders of Round Box noted, “We need to be smart about whom we work with and how we can leverage their connections, A CHANGING LANDSCAPE IN MOBILE HANDSETS Industry convergence has brought an extraordinary amount of change to the telecommunications industry in recent years. The effects of this change can be seen in the mobile handset market. Five Largest Mobile Handset Manufacturers Worldwide* *Based on quarterly sales figures (total units sold). SOURCE: GARTNER DATAQUEST (2010, 2012). 2000 2012 1. Nokia Samsung 2. Motorola Nokia 3. Ericsson Apple 4. Siemens ZTE 5. Panasonic LG Electronics
68 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW FALL 2013 SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU S T R AT E G Y partners, expertise, without giving up our intellectual property.” He added, “We cannot get too close to any- one, but close enough to everyone. We need to keep neutrality, which gives us credibility.” The Market Attacker Market attackers try to exploit the commercial application of advanced technolo- gies and tap into revenue opportunities generated by the fragmentation of well-established value chains. 8 While different attackers vary in their technological expertise, they have similar marketing challenges. In particular, they must demonstrate the sustainability and profitability of their product offerings. Most market attackers begin by identifying busi- ness opportunities with significant value. This often involves some sort of arbitraging between the parts of the market that have not converged yet and assembling pieces from previously distinct fields in new products or services. For example, in the late 1990s, Good Tech- nology, a Sunnyvale, California-based software provider that focuses on multiplatform enterprise mo- bility, began offering solutions that allowed users to integrate their mobile email with their corporate email
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