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External Economies and Economic Progress: The Case of the Microcomputer Industry


  • Langlois, Richard N.


The following article provides a thorough chronicle of the microcomputer industry. That industry is a striking case, in which industrial growth took place through the creation of “external” capabilities—that is, capabilities produced by and residing in a specialized market network rather than in large organizations enjoying internal economies of scale and scope. In the microcomputer industry, the most successful products were those that took the greatest advantage—and allowed users to take the greatest advantage—of the market; and the greatest failures occurred when business enterprises bypassed the external network and attempted to rely significantly on internal capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Langlois, Richard N., 1992. "External Economies and Economic Progress: The Case of the Microcomputer Industry," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 1-50, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:buhirw:v:66:y:1992:i:01:p:1-50_06

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