Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2009

Skyhook Wireless

by Shikhar Ghosh and Thomas R. Eisenmann

Abstract

Ted Morgan, the founder of Skyhook Wireless just received a call from Steve Jobs of Apple asking for a meeting. Ted must decide how to prepare for a meeting that could finally give Skyhook an anchor customer. Ted and his team have worked for three years to build a new approach to location based services that uses WiFi rather than the well-established satellite based GPS technology. Skyhook's approach is more accurate than GPS in urban areas and, unlike GPS, it works indoors. Yet, large device manufacturers are reluctant to be the first ones to use it. Skyhook has no customers. The board and investors are getting restless. Should Ted offer Steve Jobs a free license, or pay him for Apple's user base – or should he insist on a substantial license fee? The case examines the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in creating a technology-based company and in getting market traction against an established standard.

Keywords: Wireless Technology; Information Technology; Business Ventures; Business Startups; Technology Industry;

Citation:

Ghosh, Shikhar, and Thomas R. Eisenmann. "Skyhook Wireless." Harvard Business School Case 809-119, April 2009.