A Business and Technology Case Study

Background

Company X is a small technology company that produces one product (with several variants) that competes in a large, competitive market.  Company X has been producing versions of this product longer than any of its major competitors, and it was the first to introduce several features that are now considered standard for products in this market.  Its market share is small, but the technical competence of its product and staff is well-regarded, and many of its customers are fiercely passionate.

A Strategic Change

After struggling for years with interoperability problems caused by its relatively small market share, Company X decides to replace the two largest components of its product with those used by one of its competitors, Company Y — a very large company with a much greater market share.  In short, instead of building their own product from scratch, Company X will now produce a heavily customized version of Company Y’s product.

Questions

  • How is this decision likely to affect Company X in the short term?
  • How is this decision likely to affect Company X in the long term?
  • How are Company X’s customers likely to react to this decision?
  • How are Company X’s employees likely to react to this decision?

6 Responses to A Business and Technology Case Study

  1. How will company X distinguish itself from company Y ? Just the UI and interface. But in the long run, users might as well use product X, with the branding advantage of Company X.

  2. http://blog.methvin.com/2013/02/tragedy-of-webkit-commons.html

    ” jQuery Core has more lines of fixes and patches for WebKit than any
    other browser. In general these are not recent regressions, but
    long-standing problems that have yet to be addressed.”

  3. I have no clue why company X would do this. I wish someone could explain it. I always thought that their product was number 2 after Firefox. There were rumors that Facebook would buy them but now that they don’t even have a rendering engine… Why bother?

  4. i find it amusing how you can almost read that whole thing as “company X” = Apple (circa 2005), and “company Y” = (W)Intel.

    unfortunately, i don’t think it will work out as well for Opera in the long run.. :(

  5. Is Opera going to opensource their layout, parser, renderer, and javascript engine now that they don’t need it anymore?

  6. As a long time opera user (~ a dozen years) I’ve rather mixed feelings on the subject.

    On the one hand I’ve long since realized that hoping web developers will start adding o-whatever tags for featured that aren’t yet formally standardized even in cases when all the browser vendors have converged their implementations, or that they’ll remove browser version based checks, never mind actually fix the occasional case when something they’d doing actually did break in Opera was an exercise in futility. From that standpoint going webkit will remove a nominal compatibility block that people cite as a reason not to use Opera. Opera’s javascript engine’s been lagging vs the competition for a long time too; and on the 0.1% of sites where it was an issue it won’t be any longer.

    On the other hand, no matter how they try and spin it: They are admitting defeat with their own engine; and will have to fight the public perception of failure in the fight for market share.

    On the gripping hand, unless their initial webkit release build suffers from general stability or scalability issues (related to having often 100+ tabs open) I’m unlikely to change my current mix of what browsers I use in what context.