EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

Designing Breakthrough Products


  1. Designing Breakthrough Products (HBS course materials)
  2. PadFone vs. FonePad (HBS course materials)

Case Summary

To Jonney Shih, Chairman of ASUSTek Computer, the introduction of Apple's iPad made clear the need to transition his company to a new cloud-computing era. But the company's roots in the manufacture of Windows-powered desktop and notebook PCs bounded the creativity of his design and engineering teams. The case examines the ASUS's efforts to get into the smartphone business, leveraging experimentation it has done in tablets and a range of hybrid devices. Will its experimentation and recombination of features lead it to market success, or simply confuse consumers?

Discussion Questions

    1. How good is Jonney Shih’s vision in the smartphone and tablet markets?
    2. How realistic is he?
    3. How does he handle failure like the Garmin relationship and Nuviphone product?
    4. What was the design objective for the PadFone?
    5. Why did the EEPC netbook gain market attention in 2007?
    6. What was Asus’s design philosophy and what are they changing by going to design thinking?
    7. How strong was Asus’s market position with the launch of the iPad?
    8. What was Asus’s design focus after the iPad?
    9. What was driving the evolution from PadFone to FonePad?
    10. What was Asus's understanding of the use case for the phone?
    11. What is behind Shih’s "just try it" approach. Does evidence in the  case support your idea?
    12. What does Asus need to do to become a major player in the smartphone and tablet markets?