Blu-Ray and HD DVD: Betamax - VHS 'Format Wars' Redux?

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR230 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Marketing | Strategic Alliances | Diffusion of Innovation | Competitive Strategies
Case Length : 22 Pages
Period : 1975-2006
Organization : Sony Corp.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Electricals and Electronics


Sony, a leading multinational electronics company, had always been at the forefront of technological innovation. However, in spite of its prowess in research and development, some of the company's technologies failed to become industry standards in the face of competition from technologies developed by rival firms. The case starts with an analysis of the reasons behind Sony's failure to establish its Betamax format as the industry standard against the VHS technology developed by JVC. It then describes Sony's contribution to the evolution of DVD technology, leading up to the development of Blu-ray. The case compares the actions taken by Sony in the 1980s to promote its Betamax technology, with its current efforts to get Blu-ray accepted as the standard.

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Recognize the importance of marketing and alliances in popularizing new technologies
Understand the influence of market forces in the adoption of new technologies
Analyze the factors that delay or quicken the rate of diffusion of innovation
Compare and contrast the strategies adopted by a company at two different points in time, to popularize its technology and products


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Sony's First Format War 2
Betamax Vs VHS 3
VHS Wins... 5
...But Does Sony Lose? 5
The Intervening Years 6
Sony and the Blu-ray 7
Forming Alliances 8
Promoting Blu-Ray 9
Format Wars- Act II 10
Outlook 12
Exhibits 13


Blu-ray and HD-DVD, Betamax and VHS, Video format war, Strategic alliances in the electronics industry, Diffusion of innovation, Sony and Blu-ray, Technology adoption, Playstation 3 and Blu-ray, VAIO and Blu-ray

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