This is the second of two papers in which I use information from the technological history of the disk drive industry to examine the usefulness of the S‐curve framework for managers at the firm level in planning for new technology development. In this article I show that it is in architectural, rather than component innovation, that entrant firms exhibit an attacker's advantage. A conventionally drawn sequence of intersecting S‐curves is a misleading conceptualization of the substitution process for new architectural technologies, because it characterizes architectural innovations strictly in technical terms. Innovations in architectural technologies frequently redefine the functionality of products and address product performance needs in new or remote markets, rather than mainstream ones. Such innovations in architectural technologies entail market innovation as much as technology development, and it is in their ability to aggressively enter emerging or remote markets that entrant firms exhibit an attacker's advantage. I propose a different S‐curve framework for processes of architectural technology change that comprehends both its technological and market aspects.
Production and Operations Management – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1992
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