Component-based development (CBD) can be an appealing proposition to globally distributed software development teams because of the almost endless possibilities to recombine and reuse components in new products. In particular, it has been suggested that CBD will improve globally distributed software development practices by allowing each site to take ownership of particular components, resulting in reduced inter-site communication and coordination activities. Such an approach may indeed overcome breakdowns in inter-site coordination efforts; however, it may also lessen opportunities to share knowledge between sites and may hamper opportunities to reuse existing components. A case study approach, exploratory in nature, was adopted to explore knowledge aspects in global component-based software development. Evidence collected at several globally distributed CBD projects suggests that the true potential of CBD, which mainly relates to reusing components, can also be achieved when components are developed in a joint manner (i.e. by several sites) by accessing and utilizing expertise regardless of its geographical location. To improve the rate of component reuse, the studied teams developed capabilities in three particular areas: inter-site coordination, communications, and knowledge management. The paper concludes by discussing the links between component reuse, CBD principles and organizational capabilities, and offers managers and engineers some guidelines to consider in their CBD projects.