INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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VS.
Netscape VS. Opera –
Strategic insights from “first-mover” and “follower” inn...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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Contents
1. Introduction ...........................................................
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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1. Introduction
My choice of innovation is the first (widely known) web browser (...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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2. Description of Netscape and Opera’s product innovations
2.1 About Netscape
“Th...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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3. Comparization of “first-mover” and “follower” strategies
3.1 The difference be...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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followers in their market. Examples on scarce resources are; locations, suppliers...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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other costs, or they must find other additional revenue streams (New innovations ...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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likely because of its big brand and strong share-of-voice within the press and me...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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5. Opera - a proud and happy underdog
Opera Software today use both multi-sided m...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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6.3 Business models
Freemium business model was both used successfully by Netsca...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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6.8 Conclusion
First-movers have managed to break away from the competition. Wit...
INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad
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7. References
Curriculum
Smith, David (2006). Exploring Innovation, Second Editi...
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Netscape and Opera Software Business Case Analysis UMB School Of Business And Economics_rune_haugestad

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What can be learned by one First-Mover and one successful Follower? Business analysis of Netscape VS. Opera Software.

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Netscape and Opera Software Business Case Analysis UMB School Of Business And Economics_rune_haugestad

  1. 1. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 1 VS. Netscape VS. Opera – Strategic insights from “first-mover” and “follower” innovations. Rune Haugestad IØR course code: INN210
  2. 2. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 2 Contents 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................................3 2. Description of Netscape and Opera’s product innovations............................................................4 2.1 About Netscape............................................................................................................................4 2.2 About Opera.................................................................................................................................4 3. Comparization of “first-mover” and “follower” strategies.............................................................5 3.1 The difference between “first-mover” and “follower” strategies ................................................5 3.2 Netscape’s first-mover strategy advantages ................................................................................5 3.3 Netscape’s first-mover strategy disadvantages............................................................................6 3.4 Opera’s follower strategy advantages..........................................................................................7 3.5 Opera’s follower strategy disadvantages .....................................................................................7 4. When innovation fails.....................................................................................................................8 4.1 What can be learned from the Netscape case?............................................................................8 5. Opera - a proud and happy underdog ............................................................................................9 5.1 What can be learned from the Opera case?.................................................................................9 6. Summary and conclusion ...............................................................................................................9 6.1 First-mover strategies...................................................................................................................9 6.2 Follower strategies .......................................................................................................................9 6.3 Business models .........................................................................................................................10 6.4 Innovations and reinventions.....................................................................................................10 6.5 Change management .................................................................................................................10 6.6 Marketing and branding.............................................................................................................10 6.7 Economy.....................................................................................................................................10 6.8 Conclusion..................................................................................................................................11 7. References....................................................................................................................................12
  3. 3. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 3 1. Introduction My choice of innovation is the first (widely known) web browser (or simply called browser) who accomplished to be the first mover on a global scale. The product is Netscape Navigator, released in December 1994, produced by Netscape Communications Corporation, now a subsidiary of AOL (Source: Wikipedia). I am aware of that Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the absolute first browser (or rather browser-editor) called; WorldWideWeb, which is the origin of the acronym WWW. Tim Berners-Lee first edition of his browser was ready Christmas 1990 (Source: Berners-Lee). Then NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) developed Mosaic and released its first version in January 1993 (Source: Wikipedia [1]). Then Netscape Navigator was later developed by Netscape, which employed several of the original Mosaic authors. “Netscape Navigator was the name of Netscape's web browser from versions 1.0 through 4.8. The first beta release versions of the browser were released in 1994 and known as Mosaic and then Mosaic Netscape until a legal challenge from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (makers of NCSA Mosaic, which many of Netscape's founders used to develop), led to the name change to Netscape Navigator. The company's name also changed from Mosaic Communications Corporation to Netscape Communications Corporation. Mosaic's popularity as a separate browser began to lessen upon the release of Marc Andreessen's Netscape Navigator in 1994.Netscape Navigator's code descendant is Mozilla” (Source: Wikipedia [2]) Opera began as a research project at Telenor, the very same year that Netscape launched. “In 1995, it branched out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA. Opera was first released publicly with version 2.0 in 1996, which only ran on Microsoft Windows.” (Source: Wikipedia [3]). The founders of Netscape were: Marc Andreessen (also the founder of Opsware (HP), and co-founder of the social network Ning). I decided on the following premises for this assignment: I choose to categorize Netscape as the first mover hence the fact that they were born by Mosaic and was partly built of the people who created Mosaic, but was the first widely adapted by consumers, on a global scale, and ruled for almost a decade. Then I choose to categorize Opera’s web browser from Opera Software ASA, as a follower product innovation, hence their release two years after Netscape.
  4. 4. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 4 2. Description of Netscape and Opera’s product innovations 2.1 About Netscape “The browser was easily the most advanced available and was therefore an instant success, becoming market leader while still in beta. Netscape's feature-count and market share continued to grow rapidly after version 1.0 was released. Version 2.0 added a full mail reader called Netscape Mail, thus transforming Netscape from a mere web browser to an Internet suite. During this period, both the browser and the suite were known as Netscape Navigator. Netscape 3.0 introduced many new features such as new plug-ins, background colors for tables, the archive attribute and the applet element. Netscape Navigator 3 was a huge success and the undisputed web browser giant in its time with over 90% share, but was later eroded by the free Internet Explorer included with Windows 98” (Source: Wikipedia [2]). Netscape has developed several other products i.e.: Netsite Communications web server, Netsite Commerce web server and Netscape Proxy Server (Source: Wikipedia [4]). Netscape is credited with developing the Secure Sockets Layer Protocol (SSL) for securing online communication, which is still widely used, as well as JavaScript, the most widely used language for client-side scripting of web pages, Java later was handled and owned by Sun Microsystems , which has since merged into Oracle Corporation (Source: Wikipedia [4]). 2.2 About Opera Opera has added several innovations into their browser: “As of version 10.5, Opera features a new JavaScript engine, as well as a new vector graphics library, which together significantly increase Opera's overall rendering speed. Opera includes built-in tabbed browsing, ad blocking, fraud protection, a download manager and BitTorrent client, a search bar, and a web feed aggregator. Opera also comes with an e-mail client called Opera Mail and an IRC chat client built in. Opera also includes a "Speed Dial" feature…” (Source: Wikipedia [3]). Today Opera is the number one browser in some few countries, but still the underdog against Microsoft and Google on the desktop browser market. But in the mobile market, Opera Mobile and Opera Mini are the number one and market leader by the user adaption (Source: Wikipedia [5]). The founders of Opera Software ASA were: Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy (Source: Wikipedia [6]).
  5. 5. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 5 3. Comparization of “first-mover” and “follower” strategies 3.1 The difference between “first-mover” and “follower” strategies What does first-mover strategy mean? To quote Smith (2010 p. 163): “The first-mover strategy, as its name implies, is about being first to market with a new product or service.” What does follower strategy mean? Follower strategy described by Smith (ibid) “…a follower or latecomer or sometimes even an imitator strategy, this involves taking a “wait-and-see” approach, rather than perceiving innovation as a race in which being first to market is critical.” The follower often analyzes the first- movers innovation, technology, product or service, and how the market adapt to the innovation. Smith (ibid) points out; “When it becomes clear that there is a high level of consumer acceptance in the market or the number of competing designs begin to show signs of diminishing, then and only then does the latecomer (follower) enter the market.” I will look into both first-mover and follower strategy advantages and disadvantages below, and how Netscape and Opera exploited them. 3.2 Netscape’s first-mover strategy advantages The first-mover has several potential advantages; “Firstly the first-mover, by being first, has an opportunity to establish a technological lead, thereby becoming more familiar, more practiced and more competent as far as the technology is concerned” (Smith 2010 p. 163). Netscape was a new product innovation (Smith 2010 p. 25-26), especially regarding the easy user interface. Netscape was a radical innovation based on a totally new user graphic user interface (GUI), and held for a long time global high (90%) market share. Netscape is also an architectural innovation (Smith 2010 p. 32-38) regarding building further layers of features based on functionality in the Mosaic browser. Regarding internal organizational skills and knowledge built over time creating a new innovation lets a company get further along the learning curve and sometime secure cost advantage over competitors (Smith (2010 p. 164). This will vary from industry to industry and from company to company; some have resources (people, technology, partners, and economy), methodology and knowledge to create new innovations or reinvent versions of the first-mover innovation (very) fast (ibid). Netscape ruled the world for almost a decade, until Microsoft started to bundle their browser Explorer with Windows 98. A second factor is connected more directly to technological leadership. When a company can use in-house R&D know-how and resources to create, protect and contain their innovation via patents or licensing strategies, they may be able to create obstacles for new competitors with intellectual property (IP) rights (ibid). Netscape offered the browser for free to consumers, but sold to enterprises their server applications with software licensing fees, and in addition they offered annual support contracts. On top of that Netscape licensed their trademark (Source: Quora by Angus Davis). A third factor is the ability for the company to acquire scarce resources, thereby pre-empting
  6. 6. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 6 followers in their market. Examples on scarce resources are; locations, suppliers (Supply chains) or distribution (Smith 2010 p. 164). Netscape did not use any of these factors. Fourthly, the mechanism of diffusion and high market adaption gives an opportunity to create and build both a solid customer base, which can hold newcomers in the back seat. Netscape succeeded with this for a long time. Another important part of a successful first-mover is to establish and build a well known brand synonymous with the product or innovation. This was maybe the most important success factor for Netscape. If succeeded with these tactics, existing customers may find it inconvenient or expensive to choose another product or service from a follower (ibid). Yes, for a period it was inconvenient for consumers to find good replacement products for Netscape. The main advantage for a successful first-mover strategy is to create barriers that stop, delays or minimize follower innovations, products or services and/or market adaption (ibid). Netscape managed to perform these tactics. Common reasons to choose first-mover strategy are when; a company owns a new invention, has internal R&D department, has enough financial muscles, and has the ability to create a long term market or create a temporary monopoly. Netscape managed to scoop the market based on their innovation, kept their know-how within internal R&D department, had for a while lots of money and succeeded building both a long term market, and in retro perspective; a temporary monopoly. 3.3 Netscape’s first-mover strategy disadvantages Some organizations do have a greater or faster learning curve and capacity than the first-mover, and this flattens the first-mover effect (Smith 2010 p. 164). Within technology (and especially software industry and digital services), there are limits to its effectiveness for first-movers. Suarez and Lanzolla (ibid) suggest “that two important factors affecting the suitability of a first-mover strategy are the pace of technological change is taking place, they suggest that a first-mover advantage is unlikely because the rapid pace of change will draw in new competitors”. Netscape’s competitors were close behind, developing their own browsers. This is also explained by the theory of punctuated equilibrium, quoting Smith (ibid) “…the theory of punctuated equilibrium which predicts that periods of relative stability will be broken by technological breakthroughs that lead to disequilibrium with many competing design” (Smith 2010 p. 164). This was exactly what happened when both Mozilla (Firefox) and Microsoft (And late follower Google Chrome) developed their browsers. If the first- mover fails to protect their technology/innovation with patents or other intellectual properties (or choose not to use such protection), followers can harvest from the first-movers R&D knowledge (Smith 2010 p. 166), and be able to copy, replicate or imitate the innovation, product or service for a much lower cost and then jumpstart their own additional innovation features, then possible to i.e. faster achieve break-even, get higher ROI (Return-On-Investment) and/or lowering the price. The first-mover may not be able to lower their price because they need to pay back their initial R&D or
  7. 7. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 7 other costs, or they must find other additional revenue streams (New innovations or reinventions) to meet the competition. In this case, Netscape implemented freemium business model, so price was not the issue, but momentum and market adaption and share was crucial. 3.4 Opera’s follower strategy advantages Follower strategy advantages appear in several ways. The free rider effect is when a follower is able to utilize the benefit of earlier investments, initiatives and results from earlier innovators when they entered the market (Smith 2010 p. 166). The results of this are often that the first-mover has built market adaption, acceptance and approval by the customers/consumers (ibid). Opera benefitted from the pioneers in those ways. Information spill-over effects are when followers benefit of the R&D costs who the first-mover needed to innovate, when available the follower achieve cost advantages relative to the first-mover (ibid). Some of the code and ideas from Tim Berners-Lee’s browser was further developed by Opera and others. Learning effects are insights/attributes where followers are able to analyze and learn from the first-movers mistakes and failures and deploy a higher degree of “smartness” into their innovation (ibid). I believe learning from the first-mover and other followers, has helped Opera in several ways. Opera early recognized that there was a high level of consumer acceptance in the market for web browsers, with easy to understand value proposition (Connectivity across the World), easy to communicate value creation (ease of use), and identified several ways of monetizing the browser to create sustainable value capture (Smith 2010 p. 12-15). Other potential advantages for the follower are that they are learning from a much more mature market, regarding consumer/user requirements, and then the follower can monetize on this (ibid). This is maybe less the situation for Opera since they launch relatively shortly after Netscape. Opera more likely achieved skill in building better, wider or smarter complementary assets, such as within marketing strategies and tactics, manufacturing/development capability and project management (ibid). Another advantage with Opera is that they most likely are a more lean and flexible organization than their bigger competitors (Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and Apple), and therefore faster adaptively to change. 3.5 Opera’s follower strategy disadvantages First, if you decide to follow the first-mover, you risk that you need time to hit the market, especially when the first-mover has been able to establish a well known innovation and/or brand loyalty. Another risk is if the first-mover managed to build to many barriers to entry the market (Smith 2010). The biggest barrier for Opera has been Microsoft bundle strategy with Windows 98 including Explorer, and the strongest late follower Google with Chrome, which grew fast market shares, most
  8. 8. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 8 likely because of its big brand and strong share-of-voice within the press and media. Opera’s economical muscles are also small compared to Microsoft, Google and Apple. 4. When innovation fails When AOL started bundling their software with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Netscape was the first to face any serious competition in the form of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Netscape (With high brand equity), however, easily held off Microsoft's challenge and remained the “number one” browser for the time being. But when Netscape met both creative destruction (Schumpeter) and creative disruption (Waldman 2010) from Microsoft when they launched their Internet Explorer bundled with their Windows 98 operating system, Netscape then soon lost the battle. Microsoft successfully used their bundle with Windows 98 distribution as market booster for their browser. So it was not necessary that Netscape met a competitor with a better innovation, but Microsoft used a clever marketing strategy to conquer the browser market. 4.1 What can be learned from the Netscape case? It was not weak innovation process; management, project management, organizing, corporate venturing or bad leadership. Neither was it bad motivation or corporate culture. The people behind Netscape were highly creative innovators and skilled entrepreneurs. But it seems like several flux factors occurred; uncertainty (technology), complexity (in the market), messy (Microsoft’s bundle strategy), disruptive (both technological and market), creative (lots of other highly skilled companies/followers who developed browsers) (Smith 2010). Netscape had both a dominant design and absorptive capacity (Smith 2010 p. 68-69). If I shall point out a few observations, it must be about the ability to cover intangible aspects such as change management and opportunity recognition and strategic leadership. Netscape did not manage to meet external disruptive market forces; new entrants, with the ability to turn this around with usage of new creative reinventions or new market strategies and tactics to encounter (Waldman, Simon 2010). Today it is Google with Chrome as a late follower who steals market shares especially from Microsoft.
  9. 9. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 9 5. Opera - a proud and happy underdog Opera Software today use both multi-sided markets (Licensing on TV and game platforms and Mobile advertising) and multi-sided platform’s i.e.; Mobile (iOS and Android), PC and Mac, SMART TV and game console solutions (Osterwalder & Pigneur 2010 p. 77-79). 5.1 What can be learned from the Opera case? Opera as a follower has showed us that it is possible to gain a sustainable business competing against giants. They are capable to create new innovative features in their browser, and to reinvent their browser for new platforms and markets (Mobile, TV, and Game). Opera has also innovated their core business model, from one revenue stream based on ads to multiple ad sources, and in addition licensing to TV and gaming companies. Opera has included freemium business model for their browser, sponsored by their diversified revenue streams. Adding new reinventions, changing their business model and entering new markets (Mobile), adding more revenue stream sources, they all contributes to reduce the risk for being swept aside by existing competitors or new entrants. Today Opera thrives excellent as a proud and happy underdog in the shadows of the giants. 6. Summary and conclusion How important is it to be a first-mover within digital businesses? Can it be that following the follower strategy, is a smarter way? 6.1 First-mover strategies In a digital world, and especially for digital enterprises such as Netscape and Opera, it seems like follower strategies have more advantages than first-mover strategies. While it always be able to point out some successful digital first-movers and examples of the first-mover advantages theory in practice (think eBay). In the majority of business cases, the successful players aren’t successful purely because they were there before anyone else but because they did their function (Value creation) AND marketing & branding better than anyone else. Still, Netscape ruled the world for almost a decade, and many of their innovations and inventions (Spill-overs) within software codes and standards lives today spread amongst other companies. 6.2 Follower strategies Google? Not the first search engine. Facebook? Not the first social network. Groupon? Not the first deal site. Amazon? Not the first online bookseller. Instagram? Not the first photo-processing app. iPhone? Not the first SmartPhone. Opera, not the first browser. Still, Opera as a follower thrives, still creating new software reinventions and continue to reinvent itself.
  10. 10. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 10 6.3 Business models Freemium business model was both used successfully by Netscape and within Opera today. This model has been the number one choice of many software and mobile app companies. The golden times when a company could create a market monopoly for a longer period, certainly today are reserved for a few (think Facebook, twitter, ebay, Amazon and Google). For the rest, strategic focus must be to try to create a series of minor (in time) monopolies as promoted by Kjell A. Nordström (2002). He says it is not possible any longer to obtain and stay as a monopoly for long periods of time anymore. He suggests building temporary monopoles, and when competitors adapting their business models or products, they change again and then build a new temporary monopoly. And then create a never ending line of temporary monopoles (ibid). 6.4 Innovations and reinventions It seems like both digital first-movers and followers both need to keep on creating new innovations or reinventions to survive or keep their market positions. 6.5 Change management How you change and adapt to crisis or disruptions, are success factors. Insight about this “How” subject is shared by Dov Seidman in his book; How. To quote Seidman; “To differentiate yourself from your competition, you can no longer rely on price and service, or even on best practices. Everyone will have those sooner or later, - everyone who stays in business. You will differentiate your company from the others by HOW you do business” (Friedman 2006 p.468). 6.6 Marketing and branding Today’s consumers are less loyal than ever, because they have more choices than ever (Nordström 2002). This is also true regarding the browser market and competition: The browser war continues between: Microsoft Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera. One of the latest battles was lost by Microsoft, now legally admitted to deliver a startup window on new PC’s showing all the browsers, letting the consumer choose amongst them. Opera’s approach to compete is to fight back with inexpensive; digital branding, viral marketing and online PR strategies with smart tactics. 6.7 Economy If you succeed as a first-mover, you can earn good money. If you fail as a first-mover, you probably lose even more. If you succeed as a follower, you often earn money faster, but often for a shorter period. If you fail as a follower, chances to adapt from disruption or crisis and handle change can be easier than for the first-mover.
  11. 11. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 11 6.8 Conclusion First-movers have managed to break away from the competition. With few or no competitors, they have an opportunity to capture market share in a new region or for a new product, establish a brand, build brand loyalty and ensure that their brand becomes synonymous with the product. Hence digital businesses, this in turn can form the basis for a sustainable short or long term competitive advantage or temporary monopoly. Followers on the other hand, can look at the first-mover’s position, then choose from a variety of strategic options i.e.; price, quality, placement, user needs and behavior, distribution platforms, and then develop their own strategy for eroding the first-movers advantage. A sound innovation strategy will usually succeed, and a weak one will usually fail, no matter who moves first. In my opinion; it doesn’t matter where you come in the line of digital movers – the successful ones are the best at what they do in sum of: innovation and marketing.. Either you are a first-mover or follower leading the pack; you also need to find out how you are going to stay ahead.
  12. 12. INN210 – Assignment 2 – Rune Haugestad 12 7. References Curriculum Smith, David (2006). Exploring Innovation, Second Edition. UK: McGraw-Hill Education. Additional books Friedman, Thomas L. (2006). The world is flat. London: Penguin books Ltd. Nordström, Kjell A. (2002). Funky Business – Talents makes capital dance. UK: Prentice Hall - Financial Times, Pearson Education Limited. Osterwald, Alexander & Pigneur, Yves (2010). Business Model Generation – A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. US: John Wiley & Son Inc. Waldman, Simon (2010). Creative Disruption – What you need to do to shake up your business in a digital world. UK: Pearson Education. Internet sources Berners-Lee, Tim. The WorldWideWeb browser. Located 26.08.12 at WWW: http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/WorldWideWeb.html Davis, Angus (18.02.11). How did Netscape Navigator make money? Located 26.08.12 at WWW: http://www.quora.com/How-did-Netscape-Navigator-make-money Wikipedia [1]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_(web_browser)) Wikipedia [2]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape_(web_browser) Wikipedia [3]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_browser Wikipedia [4]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape Wikipedia [5]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers Wikipedia [6]. Located 26.08.12. at WWW: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_Software

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