Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, BENSAOU, Ben, SHIINA, Yashushi
As of November 2001, NTT DoCoMo was the only company that had been able to make money out of the mobile internet. This case study describes how, in a competitive industry engaged in a technology race with strong price erosion, NTT DoCoMo was able to achieve superior performance with its novel i-mode services. Launched in February 1999, i-mode was an immediate and explosive success. DoCoMo came to exceed its parent company in terms of market capitalisation as well as potential for profitable growth as entering the age of mobile internet.
This case offers a value innovation perspective to analyze the success of i-mode with a particular emphasis on the business model used to exploit the i-mode innovation of DoCoMo. The case is designed to serve a variety of purposes in the ‘value innovation and winning business ideas’ teaching module of an MBA strategy course or executive education program. The instructor can use it to cover the following topics: (1) the value innovation logic; (2) the value curve and Six Paths framework; (3) the buyer utility map; and (4) the price corridor of the mass and the business model guide. Alternatively, the instructor can use it to specially cover the last three topics. A teaching note is available to accompany this case.