Period: #5 (September/October 2000)
Time: Monday/Wednesday 15:30-17:30
Sessions start Wednesday September 6
Location: Henry Angus Building, Room 213
Instructor: Prof. Werner Antweiler
Office: Henry Angus Building, Room 264
Phone: (604) 822-8484

Download the course outline as a PDF file. The material on this page was last updated . Further additions and improvements will appear here as the course proceeds.

Objective & Overview

This module is about formulating business strategy in rapidly evolving, technology-intensive industries such as computers, software, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications. These industries are characterized by high levels of research and development (R&D) and, by implication, the eminent role intellecutal property rights. The primary goal of this module is to develop your analytical understanding of the nature and logic of the forces driving competitive interaction between technology based firms. We will also devote some time to considering the managerial and organizational challenges presented by the high-tech environment. The module is taught using a combination of lectures, case analysis, independent reading, and team work. Small student teams will be given the opportunity to analyze high-tech projects of their choice in detail and present them in class.

There are no particular prerequisites for this module. However, I expect everyone to be fully ``internet-literate'' and have a basic understanding of strategy and managerial economics concepts. It is highly beneficial to have taken the corresponding sequence of modules. Great care will be aken to also illustrate the pertinent concepts through examples and cases. Typically, cases are assigned as readings in preparation for discussion at the next meeting. BATM 502 strikes a balance between the use of analytic tools and the development of decision-focused strategies. At all points I welcome your feedback.

Please note that BATM502 is not an e-business or e-commerce course. Concepts pertinent to these topics are reserved for a separate course, BASM 513/580A that I teach in period 6.



This course uses a reading package that can be purchased from the copy room in the basement of the Henry Angus building. It contains the following material:

  1. Package (class room use)
    1. Case Study: Ballard Power Systems (the on-line version has been slightly updated and corrected)
    2. HBS Case: Fusion Systems Coporation in Japan
    3. UWO Case: Norpak Corporation --- The Search for a Perfect Partner
  2. Package (general readings)
    1. Introduction: Integrating Technology and Strategy from the Burgelman textbook (see below).
    2. Survey Innovation in Industry. The Economist, February 20th, 1999.
    3. Harvard Business Review article on What High-Tech Managers Need to Know about Brands
    4. Harvard Business Review article on The New Logic of High-Tech R&D
    5. Abernathy and Clark on Mapping the Winds of Creative Destruction.

In preparation of our first meeting on Wednesday, September 6, you are kindly requested to read through the Ballard Power Systems case. We will use this case to illustrate and discuss a number of strategy questions during the first session.

The following general reference texts may be helpful, but of course you are not required to read any of them. Except for the book by Oz Shy all the sources listed below are relatively non-technical.

Minicases [access requires password, all files are in PDF]

  1. Iridium plc - why it failed
  2. Bayer's Aspirin - a legacy product
  3. Airbus 3XX - will it succeed?
  4. DVD vs. DivX - who won and why

Lecture Notes

You can access several of the overhead transparencies and notes I use during the lectures. To access the notes, you need the username and password that were announced in class. The material contained in this section is exclusively for the MBA students in BATM 502. Most of the notes are in PDF (portable document format). PDF readers are installed on the PC Lab in Henry Angus, but you can also install Adobe Acrobat Reader on your PC at home.

  1. Lecture on Innovation Strategy
  2. Lecture on Technology Strategy
  3. Lecture on R&D, Patents and Licensing
  4. Lecture on Intellectual Property Rights
  5. Lecture on Standards and Network Effects
  6. Lecture on Pricing Tactics
  7. General Competition Strategy Grid (1 page)
  8. Phases of Designing a Strategic Technology Development Plan (2 flow charts)
  9. Technology Issues in the Pharmaceutical Industry (3 pages)
  10. Communication Model in Marketing (1 diagram)


Combined Syllabus and Readings Schedule

All readings assigned below are mandatory readings in preparation and in advance for the scheduled class.

# Date Cases Topics
1 Wed, Sep 6 Introduction & Overview: What are the Issues?
Innovation Strategy Audit
2 Mon, Sep 11 Ballard
Airbux 3XX
Conceiving new products: Technology Evolution and Forecasting
3 Wed, Sep 13 Norpak Inventing new products: R&D through cooperation and competition, strategic alliances
4 Mon, Sep 18 Ballard, Iridium Making new products: Licensing, Patenting, Producing
5 Wed, Sep 19 Fusion Systems Protecting new products: Intellectual Property Rights
6 Mon, Sep 25 DVD vs. Divx Interacting new products: Compatibility and Standards, Standard Wars
7 Wed, Sep 27 Bayer's Aspirin Selling new products: pricing tactics
8 Mon, Oct 2 Group Presentations
Teams A-D
9 Wed, Oct 4 Group Presentations Teams E-I (Note: meeting time extended by 1/2 hour)
9 Tue, Oct 10 Final Exam



Your grade for this module will be the weighted average of

See below for more information on the team project and the exam. Your participation grade will primarily depend on your participation in the classroom, but you can also participate in the virtual classroom by reading and posting articles on the BATM502 bulletin board. (Click on the link to get to the bulletin board, or point your web browser to news://

Participation marks are based on a number of contributions in class. These contributions can include: providing useful illustrations of a topic; providing motivation for a tool or technique; helpful recapitulation or summarizing; making observations that link or integrate concepts or discussions; responding to questions; playing "devil's advocate" by presenting or supporting alternative or unpopular positions. Note that being wrong with a remark in class will not decrease your mark, albeit it will not increase it either. Please be courteous to your fellow students and do not try to dominate discussions.

I expect everyone to prepare for classes because assigned cases and active participation in class discussions are vital. Please notify me in advance if you have to miss a class for pertinent reasons.

You can look up your grades at any time using the user name and password that has been assigned to you.



The assignment is based on group work. Each team should have four members. During the last two sessions, each team will present its work to the class. Each presentation should take about twenty minutes, followed a question and answer period of about ten minutes. Teams will be evaluated through a combination of peer rankings and the instructor's ranking.

The project involves the development of a strategic plan for the introduction of a new technological product or service, or a technological standard to be used in a new product. The basic idea is that you are assuming the role of the company's development team or product champion. You are trying to convince either investors or the company's executives (represented by the audience in the classroom) to follow through with the project or product that you are promoting. You are at liberty to pick a (hypothetical or real) company and a promising, novel product.

The research topics for each team are:

  1. Briefly introduce the product, technology, or standard, and how it relates to (a) earlier generations and (b) competitors' products.
  2. Describe the pertinent firm-internal issues with respect to the technology that is being introduced (R&D, innovation process, logistics, marketing, etc.)
  3. Develop the strategies the company (or group of competitors) needs to pursue in order to position itself in the new market. In particular, develop a competition strategy (e.g., quality, quantity, standards, pricing, communication) suitable to the novel product.
  4. Assess the external factors which will determine the success of these strategies.
  5. In presenting your findings, keep in mind that you are promoting this product, technology, or standard. Convince the audience of its merits.

Prepare a brief handout (an executive summary) that you distribute at the beginning of your presentation.

Members of the audience will evaluate the presenting teams. At the end of all presentations, you are kindly requested to provide a ranking of the presentations A-H, excluding their own presentation. These audience rankings will be combined with the instructor's ranking using preassigned weights, and then translated into a numerical score. Evaluation forms will be handed out in class. Evaluation criteria include:

  1. Quality and accuracy of the research and analysis; preparedness
  2. Managerial relevance of the suggested strategies; usefulness, credibility
  3. Form and style of the presentation; effective communication
Each of these should be given roughly equal weight.



There will be a 2-hour exam at the end of the module. The final exam has been scheduled for Tuesday October 10, 15:30-17:30, in HA 213 (our regular classroom, regular time). This reflects the change made by the MBA office, which supercedes the information provided to you earlier.

The final exam consists of three parts. Part 1 contains 10 multiple choice questions. Each multiple-choice question has six possible responses, of which between one and three are correct responses. There are twenty correct responses in this section in total. Each correct response will receive 2 points, and if there are more than twenty responses, 2 points will be deducted for each extra response. Part 2 contains five short-answer questions, each question worth 10 points. Part 3 contains a single numerical exercise, worth another ten points.

The multiple-choice part of the exam covers the entire spectrum of topics of this course. There is at least one question for each of our seven meetings. Extra weight is given to the R&D and Technology Strategy. The short-answer part contains five questions. One of the questions will involve either the Ballard or Fusion Systems case; however, the focus is on the general aspects of the case rather than specifics pertaining to the individual companies. The numerical exercise in part 3 is taken from one of our pricing models such as nonlinear pricing, try-out pricing, or tying.

In preparing for the exam you should pay close attention to your own lecture notes as well as my lecture summaries on the web. Second priority should be given to the long cases and minicases are relevant for the exam to the extent that they address general issues and strategies. I will not quiz you on specific numbers or events. Third priority is the material in course package B (follow-up readings).


Office Hours

My office is located in room 264 of the Henry Angus building. The best time to visit me is on Fridays between 10am and noon. If these times do not fit your schedule, I am available most of the week by appointment. Information for the course will be posted on the World Wide Web on this page. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail.



Please note the unusual sequence of teaching days this semester. Because of Labour Day (Monday September 4), the class originally scheduled for that is cancelled. There will be no make-up class. Instead, I will assign an appropriate reading.


The final exam is scheduled for Thursday October 12, 15:00-17:00. Location to be announced later.

Useful Links

Standards and Standards Organizations
Standards Wars, Network Externalities
Intellectual Property, Patents, Trademarks
Job Opportunities
  • TechnoSkill - if you're looking for a job in high tech, or have a need of skilled high-tech professionals; hosted by Canada's CATA Alliance.
Getting Help
  • The Canadian Technology Network - Expertise, advise, and information particularly for small and medium-sized high-tech businesses.
  • Canadian Innovation Centre - dedicated to assisting inventors and innovative companies, offering services including invention evaluation, technology due diligence, market research, and education programs.
  • TechnoGate - the global strategic partnering gateway for the Advanced Technology Industry
Country Perspectives
  • Cutting Edge - HighTech news from the Los Angeles Times
  • Upside Today - Coverage of the High tech Industry. New technologies, hot startups, updated daily.
  • CorpTech - Database of 50,000 U.S. Technology Companies
  • for patents database, see section Patents above


© 2000 by Werner Antweiler and University of British Columbia.