In an environment where Internet service provider (ISP) has increasingly commodity-like, Charles Brewer, founder and CEO of MindSpring, the nation’s sixth largest ISP and the recognized market leader in customer satisfaction, is considering a proposed merger with EarthLink Network, Inc., the nation’s fifth largest ISP. Competitors offer a rich variety of products and services (AOL), ease-of-use and ease-of-access (MSN) and even free access (NetZero). MindSpring’s annual revenues grew o … Read more »

In an environment where Internet service provider (ISP) has increasingly commodity-like, Charles Brewer, founder and CEO of MindSpring, the nation’s sixth largest ISP and the recognized market leader in customer satisfaction, is considering a proposed merger with EarthLink Network, Inc., the nation’s fifth largest ISP. Competitors offer a rich variety of products and services (AOL), ease-of-use and ease-of-access (MSN) and even free access (NetZero). MindSpring’s annual revenues grew over 600% from 1996 to 1999, Brewer and white, it is important to maintain the momentum. The issue of growth raises a number of strategic and tactical questions: How should achieve MindSpring growth and what compromises? How should MindSpring and EarthLink merge their two cultures in the newly proposed merger? MindSpring was the retention of customers through superior service is still the best strategy? Brewer would have opportunities to increase the number of subscribers grows, but also new ways to find different products of the newly combined MindSpring and EarthLink from other ISPs.
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from
Jeffrey F. Rayport,
Joe Keough,
Cathy Olofson
Source: Harvard Business School
29 pages.
Publication Date: Jan 27, 1999. Prod #: 899178-PDF-ENG
MindSpring HBR case solution