This field-based case uses Leica Camera, the famed German manufacturer of high-end cameras, to unfold circumstances that allow for an analysis of the firm's competitive position. Having moved the well-loved German company from near bankruptcy during the digital revolution to a digital disrupter, Andreas Kaufmann, chairman and principal owner, had amassed an unblemished record in strategic decisions that turned the company around. The case open allows students to explore the uncertainty over the future direction under the guidance of a new CEO. Did Leica want to remain a business-to-consumer (B2C) company and a consumer brand in the premium luxury segment? Or did it want to be a B2B supplier for optical and auto-electronic components?
The case provides an overview of the competitive style of the major manufacturers, and allows a discussion of core capabilities of these competitors. This offers an opportunity to explore if Leica had the right portfolio of products. Should it focus on a few, well-chosen products where it could win, or should Leica cover the full spectrum of camera products? How would the new CEO get a company that had built all this for over 100 years to leverage opportunities opening up?