Competing in times of convergence: The use of strategic alliances by Nokia, Apple and Google

Marina Shchipanova

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is focused on how firms use strategic alliances when competing in converging environments. I use a case study approach, combined with the research method of abduction. The companies chosen for case studies are Nokia, Apple and Google. In the recent years they have made some strategic choices that resulted in them becoming direct competitors. The industry where they are facing each other is mobile Internet services. An important element of their related strategies has been the use of strategic alliances. My goal is to explore and understand the motives behind their alliance strategies in the context of convergence. As the theoretical base of this thesis, I utilize theories on convergence, strategic alliances, and the compound product-service offering framework. I identify main points that would help me address the research question. For the empirical base, I use information on the case companiesā€˜ strategies related to the mobile Internet services. Through the lens of the above mentioned theories, I identify the main trends and offer explanations on the industry developments and the alliance strategies. The main findings of this thesis are: 1) The case companies are now in direct competition with each other within the mobile Internet services industry. 2) The industry is undergoing a turbulent stage, accompanied by a search for a dominant platform. 3) The case companies are actively forming alliances with companies that possess complementary competences in the context of the industry. 4) The case companies are also forming industry-wide consortia in order to emerge as leaders in the search for a dominant platform. 5) In the context of the mobile Internet services industry, alliances are a necessity rather than just a strategic choice. Without them, the industry as a whole would not thrive.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages88