Essay on Optical Fiber Corp Case Analysis

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Case Analysis:
Optical Fiber Corporation

Optical Fiber Corporation (OFC) is a financially successful, albeit relatively small manufacturer of multimode optical fibers. The company was founded in 1990. The founders were able to enter the market largely on the basis of acquiring patent licenses from larger optical fiber firms. These licenses restricted competition between the entities and provided OFC with instant access to optical fiber technology. In return, OFC’s customer base is limited by the license agreements and royalties of 7% on sales of licensed products (recently renegotiated to 9%) are paid to the licensors. Despite these handicaps the firm has grown in size and profitability. OFC makes several types
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New firms entering the market will be free to produce the products once protected under those patents without having incurred any R and D costs. These firms will also be free from royalty payments to licensors or any restrictive covenants such as those under which OFC operates.

The industry in general, and OFC in particular, must contend with the purchasing power of its buyers. Optical fiber is converted into optical fiber cable. In the United States there are twenty companies that perform this function. OFC sells over 70% of their fiber to just three. The loss of any of these accounts could be devastating for OFC and places them in a weak position when negotiating prices, at least when the products are those which are readily available from other multimode fiber producers. It is doubtful that switching costs would be high for buyers. Favoring OFC and the optical fiber market are the projections for increased demand for multimode optical fibers at least through the mid 2000’s. Sources of increased demand for multimode fiber are anticipated to include: cable TV, undersea cables, local area networks (LAN) as well as general data communications growth such as computer uses.

As noted the single mode optical fiber market is much larger than the multimode market. It too, is expected to see significant growth over the next several years. Single mode fibers
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