Collaborate with competitors to achieve mutual benefits

Coopetition Business Model Pattern

The coopetition business model pattern involves companies collaborating with competitors to achieve mutual benefits while still competing in other areas.

Co-opetition can drive innovation, reduce costs and risks, expand market opportunities, and improve industry standards. Implementing co-opetition requires identifying potential collaborators, defining objectives and boundaries, fostering trust and communication, creating a framework for sharing value, and continuously monitoring and adapting the approach.

Collaborating with Competitors for Mutual Benefit

In today’s dynamic and interconnected business landscape, the concept of “co-opetition” has emerged as a powerful strategy for companies to drive innovation, expand markets, and create value. Co-opetition, a portmanteau of cooperation and competition, refers to the business model pattern where companies simultaneously engage in collaboration and competition with their industry peers. This section will delve into the key aspects of the co-opetition business model pattern, its importance, impact on business models, implementation strategies, and real-world examples.

What is the Coopetition Business Model Pattern?

Coopetition Business Model Pattern

The coopetition business model pattern involves firms within the same industry working together to achieve mutual benefits while still competing in other areas. This collaborative approach can take various forms, such as:

  • Sharing resources and knowledge to develop new technologies or products
  • Collaborating on research and development projects to reduce costs and risks
  • Jointly marketing or distributing products to reach new customers or markets
  • Establishing industry standards or platforms to create a level playing field

By engaging in co-opetition, companies can leverage their collective strengths, mitigate individual weaknesses, and create win-win outcomes that benefit all participants.

Why is the Coopetition Business Model Pattern Important?

The coopetition business model pattern offers several compelling benefits for companies:

  • Access to new resources and capabilities: Collaborating with competitors allows firms to tap into a broader pool of expertise, technology, and resources, accelerating innovation and product development.
  • Reduced costs and risks: Sharing the costs and risks of research and development, marketing, or distribution can help companies optimize their investments and improve their chances of success.
  • Expanded market opportunities: Co-opetition can enable firms to enter new markets, reach new customer segments, or offer more comprehensive solutions by combining their complementary strengths.
  • Improved industry standards and customer experience: By working together to establish common standards or platforms, companies can create a more consistent and seamless experience for customers, enhancing the overall attractiveness of the industry.

Impact on the Business Model

Coopetition Business Model Pattern Canvas Image

Adopting the co-opetition business model pattern can have significant implications for various aspects of a company’s business model:

  • Key Partnerships: Collaborating with competitors becomes a critical component of the business model, requiring careful management of relationships, intellectual property, and trust.
  • Key Activities: Co-opetition may involve new activities such as joint research and development, co-marketing, or the establishment of shared platforms or standards.
  • Revenue Streams: Collaborating with competitors can open up new revenue streams through licensing, royalties, or the creation of new joint ventures or products.
  • Cost Structure: Co-opetition can help companies optimize their cost structure by sharing expenses, avoiding duplication of efforts, and achieving economies of scale.

How to Implement the Coopetition Business Model Pattern

Successfully implementing the co-opetition business model pattern requires a strategic and carefully managed approach:

  1. Identify potential collaborators: Analyze the competitive landscape to identify companies with complementary strengths, shared challenges, or common goals that could benefit from collaboration.
  2. Define clear objectives and boundaries: Establish clear objectives for the collaboration, as well as boundaries to protect sensitive information, intellectual property, and competitive advantages.
  3. Develop trust and communication: Foster a culture of trust, transparency, and open communication among collaborating partners to ensure alignment and prevent misunderstandings.
  4. Create a framework for sharing and protecting value: Develop a clear framework for sharing costs, risks, and rewards, as well as mechanisms for protecting the value created through the collaboration.
  5. Monitor and adapt: Continuously monitor the performance and outcomes of the co-opetition initiative, and be prepared to adapt the approach based on changing market conditions, competitive dynamics, or internal priorities.

Examples of the Coopetition Business Model Pattern

Examples of the Coopetition Business Model Pattern Real-world examples of successful co-opetition initiatives include:

To better illustrate the co-opetition business model pattern in action, let’s explore some specific examples of companies that have successfully collaborated with their competitors:

  1. Apple and Samsung: Despite being fierce rivals in the smartphone market, Apple and Samsung have collaborated on various components and technologies. Samsung has been a key supplier of displays and memory chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads, while both companies have worked together on developing advanced mobile technologies such as OLED displays and 5G networks.
  2. Ford and General Motors: In 2019, Ford and General Motors, two of the largest American automakers, announced a partnership to develop next-generation transmissions for electric vehicles. By collaborating on this critical technology, both companies aim to reduce development costs, improve efficiency, and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the market.
  3. Microsoft and Sony: Although Microsoft and Sony compete fiercely in the gaming console market with their Xbox and PlayStation platforms, the two companies have also found areas for collaboration. In 2019, they announced a strategic partnership to co-develop cloud gaming solutions and AI technologies, leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and Sony’s expertise in gaming and entertainment.
  4. Pfizer and BioNTech: In the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech formed a collaboration to combine their complementary strengths. Pfizer brought its extensive clinical trial and manufacturing capabilities, while BioNTech provided its innovative mRNA vaccine technology. The result was one of the first and most effective COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market.
  5. YouTube and Vevo: YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, and Vevo, a music video hosting service, are both competing for viewers’ attention and advertising dollars. However, they have also collaborated to provide a better user experience and expand their reach. Vevo’s music videos are hosted on YouTube, and the two companies share revenue from advertising and subscriptions, benefiting both platforms and the artists they feature.


The coopetition business model pattern represents a paradigm shift in how companies approach their relationships with competitors. By recognizing the potential for mutual benefit through collaboration, firms can unlock new sources of value, drive innovation, and shape the future of their industries. As the business landscape continues to evolve, the ability to effectively navigate the complex dynamics of competition and cooperation will become an increasingly critical skill for companies seeking to thrive in the long run.

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