"Convergence - How to Compete and Win", March 15, 2004

Business & Technology Panel Discussion, sponsored by Business Technology Group, Rotman School of Management, March 4, 2004, 6 p.m.

These participant's notes were created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing (daviding@systemicbusiness.org) at the Systemic Business Community ( http://systemicbusiness.org ).


[Ajay Agrawal, Professor of Strategic Management]

Business Technology Group is the student group that put together the panel.

Panel diverse: 

8-minute presentation by each of panelists, then Q&A.

[Alister Mitchell, Moontaxi]

The 9 lives of music commerce:


[Don Morrison, Research in Motion]

A graduate of Rotman.

Some insights into the Blackberry, and some challenges

3 ways you know you're in a convergent industry:

Converged:  software, terminal business

Where have new technologies, a mass market should suffice.

[Charles Solomon, Bell]

Bell: longstanding products and services, embedded regulation for 140 years.

15 years fast forward

Customers and investors also changing

Bell offers:

People cutting back on land lines

Competitive free-for-all

Have done telerobotic surgery

Voice over IP:  today over 12% of international traffic

[Michael Raynor]

Two elements of strategy making in convergence spaces:

Innovation isn't about technology

Sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation:

If you take advantage of sustaining innovations, will be moving heaven and earth on technological issues, to serve customers.

Disruptive technology gives you an advantage today, but then long-term riches.

Strategy is about which hard problem you want to solve

Uncertainty:  given choice on which problems to solve, need to make almost irrevisible commitments

Recent advances:


Question:  "IT doesn't matter" article in HBR.  How to overcome this argument.

What technologies are converging, that we haven't seen in a public forum

Question:  Is 99 cents the price that people will pay?  Elasticity of demand on music?  Importance of hardware being matched.

Question:  open or closed standards?  Don't see open cellular telephone standards.  Instant Messaging.  Gaming platforms are proprietary.

Question:  Listening to customers, but to what extend to we lead customers?

Question:  The most important thing to win in convergent markets?

Question:  WiFi technology?

Question:  How do convergent technologies impact?  e.g. RIM and Nokia.

Questions:  Open standards, versus DRM.  Software piracy?  Will DRM be the meter?

Questions:  employees, and engaging their hearts and minds.

Question:  Blackberry not into games, whereas Palm does

Question:  Puretracks.com, 99 cents profitable?  Harder to find older selection, is it possible to request?

Question:  How do you bill for all of this?  Keeping up with new product needs.

Moderator:  favourite sound bites


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