Case | HBS Case Collection | April 1999

Steve Perlman and WebTV (B)

by James K. Sebenius and Ron Fortgang


The dynamics of a linked series of internal and external negotiations involved in launching, growing, and selling a high-tech, Internet start-up are explored. Steve Perlman unfurled an impressive new technology, recruited a top technical and management team, secured seed capital, laid the groundwork for later stages of financing, initiated alliances with content and Internet service providers, maneuvered into negotiation with major consumer electronics players Sony and Philips (for manufacturing and distribution), and ultimately had to decide on his strategy for possibly selling the firm. WebTV provided a low-cost, easy-to-use set-top box that linked televisions to the Internet, allowing users instant web access.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Agreements and Arrangements; Negotiation Process; Value Creation; Alliances; Technological Innovation; Business Exit or Shutdown; Television Entertainment; Media and Broadcasting Industry;


Sebenius, James K., and Ron Fortgang. "Steve Perlman and WebTV (B)." Harvard Business School Case 899-271, April 1999.