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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Fontana, 2003. "Rapid Technical Change and the Speed of Lock-in: Standard Battles in the Local Area Network Industry in the 1990s," KITeS Working Papers 146, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp146
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/WP146Fontana.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Postrel, Steven R, 1990. "Competing Networks and Proprietary Standards: The Case of Quadraphonic Sound," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(2), pages 169-185, December.
    2. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Installed Base and Compatibility With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 385, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Cowan, Robin, 1990. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study in Technological Lock-in," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 541-567, September.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technical change; Lock-in; LAN equipment;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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