Strategic alliance

Strategic alliance

Strategic alliance

Strategic Alliance Examples

In ever-increasing numbers, both small and large companies are forming strategic alliances to move their businesses forward. Below are examples of how large companies rely on strategic alliances and joint ventures to boost their businesses – working smarter (not harder) is not just for small businesses.


According to Rebecca Larson, assistant Professor of Business at Liberty University, Starbucks partnered with Barnes and Nobles bookstores in 1993 to provide in-house coffee shops, benefiting both retailers.

In 1996, Starbucks partnered with Pepsico to bottle, distribute and sell the popular coffee-based drink, Frappacino. A Starbucks-United Airlines alliance has resulted in their coffee being offered on flights with the Starbucks logo on the cups and a partnership with Kraft foods has resulted in Starbucks coffee being marketed in grocery stores.

In 2006, Starbucks formed an alliance with the NAACP, the sole purpose of which was to advance the company’s and the NAACP’s goals of social and economic justice.

Starbucks has also opted to enter into a strategic alliance with Tata Group as it attempts to establish a position in the Indian market.

On 31 January 2012, Starbucks announced its objective to open 50 outlets in India by the end of 2012, through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages. The two partners will invest a total of $80 million initially.


According to “An Overview of Strategic Alliances,” Apple has partnered with Sony, Motorola, Phillips, and AT&T in the past. Apple has also partnered more recently with Clearwell in order to jointly develop Clearwell’s E-Discovery platform for the Apple iPad. E-Discovery is used by enterprises and legal entities to obtain documents and information in a “legally defensible” manner, according to a 2010 press release.

Hewlett Packard and Disney

Hewlett-Packard and Disney have a long-standing alliance, starting back in 1938, when Disney purchased eight oscillators to use in the sound design of Fantasia from HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. When Disney wanted to develop a virtual attraction called Mission: SPACE, Disney Imagineers and HP engineers relied on HP’s IT architecture, servers and workstations to create Disney’s most technologically advanced attraction.

Eli Lilly

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has been forming alliances for nearly a century, according to its brochure, Power in Partnerships, and was the first in their industry to establish an office devoted to alliance management. Lilly currently has over one hundred partnerships around the world devoted to discovery, development, and marketing. For example, Lilly partners with the Belgium-based company Galapagos to develop treatments for osteoporosis.

Lilly also partners with Canada’s BioMS medical group in a licensing and development agreement for a novel treatment for multiple sclerosis. In Japan, Lilly is partnering with Kyowa

Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd., to bring a targeted cancer treatment to market. Lilly will have the exclusive license to develop and sell the product worldwide except in Japan, and the two companies will share rights in certain Asian countries.

Dutch Airlines

The strategic alliance between the Dutch airline KLM and the American carrier Northwest Airlines is a famous example of a strategic alliance that allowed two companies to share their routing networks but still remain distinct companies.


McDonalds has long partnered with many companies such as Disney, Mattel, and Hasbro in order to have products for their happy meals. It’s a win-win for the partnership, increasing brand awareness and association.

Strategic alliance