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Rapid Technical Change and the Speed of Lock-in: Standard Battles in the Local Area Network Industry in the 1990s

The rise of Fast Ethernet as the dominant standard for high speed connection in the Local Area Network industry is chosen to analyse the relevance of increasing returns and network externalities in determining the speed of standard diffusion. Although it was not the first standard to emerge, Fast Ethernet was able to catch up an out-compete existing alternatives due its ability to target different user needs and penetrate new market niches. In the presence of rapid technological change, even though a technology enjoys a head start over competing alternatives, achieving lock-in may be more difficult than the theory on increasing returns and network externalities generally predicts.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/WP146Fontana.pdf
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Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 146.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision: Jul 2003
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp146
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  1. Stanley M. Besen & Joseph Farrell, 1994. "Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-131, Spring.
  2. Cowan, Robin, 1988. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study In Technological Lock-In," Working Papers 88-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Foray, Dominique & Grubler, Arnulf, 1990. "Morphological analysis, diffusion and lockout of technologies: Ferrous casting in France and the FRG," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 535-550, December.
  4. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility, With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 411, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Postrel, Steven R, 1990. "Competing Networks and Proprietary Standards: The Case of Quadraphonic Sound," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(2), pages 169-85, December.
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