Ivey Publishing
Indus OS: Revolution Through Incremental Innovation
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12 pages (8 pages of text)
Product Type:
Case (Pub Mat)
Founded in May 2008 in India, Indus OS (previously known as Firstouch) understood the latent language needs of 90 per cent of Indian consumers, a need that prevented users from switching from their basic-feature phones to smartphones. Through incremental innovation of the open Android system, Indus OS launched the world’s first smartphone operating system that had the ability to function in 12 of India’s regional languages. Through strategic partnerships formed in 2015 with some of the leading smartphone manufacturers in India, by May 2016 Indus OS had become the second most popular operating system in the Indian market, following Google’s Android and leading Apple’s iOS. Moreover, Indus OS had firm strategic growth plans, not only for India but also for international markets like China and Bangladesh. The remaining critical issue was whether Indus OS could sustain its advantage over rivals or whether it was likely to be acquired by a large multinational corporation, a fate common to other successful start-ups in India.
Learning Objective:
The case is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate students, especially in courses on small business management, entrepreneurship, and international marketing. The case deals with incremental innovation, customer value through strategic alliances, and the competitive advantage of Indus OS in the Indian mobile operating system market. After completing the case, students will be able to do the following:
  • Recognize that the needs of consumers in emerging markets such as India go beyond low prices.
  • Understand how, through incremental innovation that focuses on customer needs, start-ups can be successful in markets that are mainly dominated by large multinational corporations.
  • Recognize how customer value can be created through strategic alliances.
  • Understand the usual fate of start-ups.
General Management/Strategy,  Entrepreneurship
Information, Media & Telecommunications
India, Small, 2017
Intended Audience:
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