Cree, Inc.: Which Bright Future?

Case Solution

David J. Collis, Mary Furey, Matthew Shaffer
Harvard Business School ()

Founded in the late 1980s, Cree Inc. quickly became a major player in the emerging LED market. In 2007, technological improvements made LEDs suitable for “backlighting” televisions, computers, and mobile devices; and concerns about global warnings led to calls for a shift to more energy efficient general lighting sources (LEDs being preferred because they were much more efficient than traditional incandescent lamps). In this context, Cree was faced with a strategic puzzle: Should it focus on its historical experience in manufacturing LED “chips” and components for use in third-party displays and applications that have since manufactured LEDs? Or should you try the risky adventure of making your own LED bulbs for direct sale to consumers for general lighting? This case presents Cree’s history and information on the LED lighting markets and in general as a backdrop for a discussion on Cree’s strategic choice.

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