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A strategic alliance is a business relationship between two or more entities that share recourses for a common goal. Often, the common goal involves specialized product research and development. 

Sometimes the term strategic alliance is used interchangeably with the term joint venture, but actually the two are different. While a joint venture also involves two or more business entities pooling resources, such a venture is usually a long-term business operation. 

In contrast, in a strategic alliance the parties usually have a short-term goal. Each party brings a unique resource to achieve that goal. Once the goal is reached, the parties take what they have developed and use it in their separate, ongoing operations.

One example of a strategic alliance would be a large oil and gas company working with a small, specialized engineering firm to develop a new method for extracting oil and gas resources. When the alliance is finished, the oil and gas company will use the process in its operations, and the engineering firm will market its services to other oil and gas companies that want to use the new extraction process.

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