SeaMicro, which was launched in 2007, developed one of the most advanced server products (the SM10000) to enter the respective market in over a decade. This case study deals with the founders' obstacles and challenges.
Mark Leslie; Sara Rosenthal
Stanford University (E409)
Case questions answered:
- On page 2 of the case, there is a quote at the bottom of the page: “Gary had an idea that the right way to attack this market was to build a system with a larger number of smaller…processors…”
- What market was he talking about?
- Was this an under-served or over-served market?
- Besides the market, what are the other two most important dimensions of context in this case? Why are they more important than the other dimensions of context?
- Is the first launched version of the SeaMicro SM10000 a radical, discontinuous product innovation? Be decisive; say YES or NO first, then defend your answer (tell us why).
- Is the SM10000 a disruptive technology? Again, be decisive; say YES or NO first, then defend your answer.
- Answer the challenging question at the end of the case. How does SeaMicro proceed to “widespread product commercialization”? List the 3 critical decisions and actions that would be taken to go to full commercialization.
- How can the “one competitor” approach (Chen’s work at Virginia) be used to diagnose the problem of using disruptive technology as the main element of an innovation strategy?
- What extra mile source helped you the most in analyzing this case? (do research).
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SeaMicro Case Answers
Elevator Pitch – SeaMicro
This case analyses the introduction of new technology by SeaMicro in the server industry. It also explores the market opportunities and threats that the company could face in the future.
Like with any new venture, funding is a very important factor and can define the success or failure of new technology.
The founding team of SeaMicro was able to identify an important need in the market of server technology and was able to come up with a solution to address the market needs of internet-based companies and the problems they were facing with the existing technology, like power and space consumption by the servers.
It was critical to understand that these internet-based companies had high demands for server technology and were being under-served by the existing technology providers. This acted as a launchpad for SeaMicro to start the development of new technology.
What market was he talking about?
Feldman talked about the market needs that the new internet-based companies like Google, Yahoo, Netflix, etc., had for lower power consumption, low space consumption, and high-performance data centers.
Was this an under-served or over-served market?
The market discussed here is under-served as the customers in this market are most demanding and are not easily satisfied . With the growing trend of cloud computing increasing the need for high-performance servers, the data centers’ power consumption was…
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