On October 9th 2003, Walt Disney Company, an international entertainment and media enterprise, and global technology provider Hewlett-Packard (HP) declared a ten-year strategic alliance for the purpose of developing innovative technologies and promoting Disney consumers’ experiences. The arrangement was achieved by jointly disclosing “Mission: Space” ride, which had been collaboratively designed and developed by HP and Disney employees for several years, reported by Business Wire (9 October, 2003). “Mission: Space” was located in Walt Disney World Resort at Epcot theme park, Florida, including the following activities: Space Pavilion, Space Attraction, Space Advanced Training Lab and Space Cargo Bay. It was highly praised by Fiorina, then chief executive at HP, that the cooperation was based on both business expansion and technology development when HP wanted to recover from the business downturn and improve its public image (Takahashi, 2003). Meanwhile, by using HP devices and technologies, “Mission: Space” ride provided Disney consumers with weightless simulations and consumers would feel like travelling in space (Takahashi, 2003).
Hewlett-Packard, established in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard from Stanford University, was initially to produce an electronic instrument called audio oscillator. The Walt Disney Studio was HP’s first client who bought eight oscillators to create the movie “Fantasia”. It was HP and Disney’s first cooperation (Hewlett-Packard Company, 2012). HP, headquartered in California, is one of the world’s largest technology companies that provide software, services and technology products to its customers. During the economic recession in the early 2000s, numerous companies reported losses and it was essential for HP to seek opportunities to sustain its information technology advantages (Chen et al. 2011).
The Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney and Roy Disney founded Disney Brothers Studio in 1923 in California for cartoon production. In 1971, the first Disney World opened in Florida and several years’ later, theme parks and Disney MGM studio were set up subsequently. Then in 1986, the firm’s name was changed to The Walt Disney Company (The Walt Disney Company, 2012). Now it is a worldwide entertainment and media company by operating in five sectors: ‘theme parks and resorts, consumer products, media networks, interactive media and studio entertainment’. In the early 2000s, Disney expanded its business around the world by building theme parks, collaborating with Eastman Kodak, Bank One and Visa to attract more consumers. Consequently the ten-year alliance with HP was arranged for both technology and entertainment development (The Walt Disney Company, 2012).
When Disney animation engineers first came up with the simulation of space travelling – Mission: Space ride, they realized it was crucial to find a partner that could perfectly combine the classic Disney adventures with the technology of aerospace simulation (Disney + HP, n.d.). HP then became Disney’s partner because it delivered a wide range of supports from Disney’s visual effect to animation tasks. Then a contractual alliance between HP and Disney was formed. HP first offered infrastructure to deliver digital equipment, then it manufactured devices and hardware that serving Disney’s consumers (Fried and Spooner, 2003). Not only did HP highlight Walt Disney in its $300 million advertisements, it also launched sweepstakes to push “Mission: Space” into public (Camp, 2004). In return, what HP benefited was that it could acquire consumers’ data for further developments and promotions. Even though the potential benefits for HP was hard to estimate, HP was still quite satisfied with the volume of visitors (Camp, 2004).
Above all, the value – creation logic for this alliance can be categorized as co-specialization. Both...