IN THIS SUMMARY
Competitive Solutions offers conceptual strategic tools, places an emphasis on practical applications in real circumstances, and focuses on individual strategic elements rather than on comprehensive strategic plans. The result is a collection of the tools and insights executives, managers, and students of business and economics need in order to develop strategies in which each element reinforces all others as a means of effectively confronting many marketplace issues. Believing that comprehensive strategic plans need to be designed for specific firms in specific industries, McAfee does not present a fully integrated plan, but instead provides a compendium of practical strategic insights that can be applied in real situations and that focuses primarily on the individual elements of strategy.The book begins with an application, America Online, which serves as a multifaceted example of many of the strategic tools presented throughout the text. A broad overview of industry analysis (accompanied by an exploration of associated business strategies) relates characteristics of industries to their profitability and to their appropriate holistic strategies. As a centerpiece, the work goes on to develop an intellectual toolkit of insights needed to confront many marketplace challenges and, thus, explores differentiation, product life cycle, cooperation, organizational scope, incentives, auctions, signaling, and bargaining. In addition to this standard menu of strategic elements, the book also focuses more attention on antitrust and litigation, pricing, and statistics than do most business strategy works.The result is a book in which an authoritative command of the subject is presented, but which does not provide a pointed overview. Thus, Competitive Solutions is ideal for the general business audience that needs a complementary resource that can provide another perspective on a particular strategic topic. It is also extremely valuable as a "text for a course in business strategy that uses examination of cases as the primary teaching method." Essentially, McAfee has provided an indispensable strategic toolkit that works best in conjunction with other resources to form a definitive vision of the strategic firm-"one in which each element of company strategy reinforces the other elements."