Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2008 (Revised January 2010)

iBasis, Inc.

by Andrew Wasynczuk, Katherine Dowd and Nicole Kravec


iBasis examines the development of a long-term relationship between equipment manufacturer Cisco and start-up iBasis, a voice-over-internet wholesaler. Questions arise for iBasis founders as to how best to build a beneficial relationship with the much larger partner. How aggressive should they be in their pursuit of specialized equipment designs from Cisco? How should they protect their own intellectual property? After several years of market success, and several relationship defining mechanisms (from informal to a memorandum of understanding to specific equipment contracts), the partnership is tested with the dot-com bubble bursting. Not only is the relationship at risk, but iBasis' very survival is in question.

Keywords: Technology; Intellectual Property; Value Creation; Equality and Inequality; Partners and Partnerships; Business Growth and Maturation; Price Bubble; Trust; Business Startups; Manufacturing Industry; Communications Industry; Web Services Industry;


Wasynczuk, Andrew, Katherine Dowd, and Nicole Kravec. "iBasis, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 908-014, January 2008. (Revised January 2010.)