Monday, February 28, 2011

Intel and the Launch of WiMAX Wireless Broadband Technology in 2008
© 2011 INSEAD Case Study

The case deals with the battle between the two 4G wireless technologies, LTE, which has broad support in the telecommunications industry, and WiMax, sponsored by a consortium headed by Intel. It describes how Intel successfully spearheaded the introduction of WiFi to launch its Centrino processor and how it sought to repeat the same strategy with WiMax to launch the Centrino 2. Intel finds much of the telecom industry lukewarm towards its plan as they favour LTE, but decides to launch WiMax anyway. The case ends in 2008 when the first WiMax initiatives in the US become operational.

Pedagogical Objectives: The case allows a discussion of technology convergence, in this case between two wireless technologies, one sponsored by the telecommunications industry, the other by the computer industry. It illustrates the strategies and tactics for launching new technologies that affect two competitng supply chains, and the importance of power (coalitions) in the supply chain to foster technology adoption. It also nicely illustrates the strategy of vertical integration to jumpstart or block technology adoption.