by Fabio Ancarani and Venkatesh Shankar

This article was published in Journal of Interactive Marketing, 17 (Winter 2003), 56-76.

In a convergent industry, the boundaries between traditional industries are blurred and, as new competitors emerge, traditional rules of competition are challenged. Firms need to effectively compete and collaborate with one another simultaneously by focusing on customer needs.  In this paper, we argue that integration of customer needs and strategic alliances is a critical aspect of competing in the convergent industry. We propose a framework for analyzing competition in convergent industry, comprising five critical factors: customer intimacy, degree of competition among different players in focal markets, alliance formation, brand equity, and execution.  We apply this framework to the case of Symbian, a joint venture among Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, Matsushita, Siemens and Psion that licenses an open operating system for third generation mobile information and communication services in hybrid mobile devices.  We derive insights into the ongoing competition between Symbian OS, the first mover in this emerging market and Microsoft’s Smartphone, the late mover.