Many companies experience difficult situations as a result of their selected strategy. Strategic management theories implicitly assume that companies have a free choice in setting their strategy. Hence, when companies experience difficult situations this is because of management inadequacy. It is questionable whether companies always have a free choice. This research examines this issue by examining the new product strategies of the two main competitors in the commercial aircraft industry. The development of the A380 aircraft was selected to determine to what extent the companies had a choice in setting their product development strategies. The conclusion is that neither has the alleged freedom for setting its strategy. Implications of this finding are that the strategy theory needs to be adjusted for this choice issue, and that management should not always be held fully responsible for the developing events.