Modularity as an Entry Strategy: The invasion of new niches in the LAN equipment industry
This paper focuses on niche entry patterns in the LAN equipment industry in the 1990s. We analyze an original data-set of LAN equipment consisting of more than 1,000 hubs and switches marketed between 1990 and 1999. Modularity emerged as a design strategy that supported incumbent firms’ efforts to enter new product niches in the hub segment. However, after the emergence of switches as an alternative to hubs, coupled with the introduction of a new standard, incumbents relying on a modular hub strategy were overtaken by a new comer (Cisco). Moreover, the fastest followers were incumbents that had not previously relied on modular hub architectures. Our interpretation is as follows: modularity offers advantages of speed when changes occur within established boundaries. However, it also generates a ‘tunnel effect’ that prevents firms from developing products based on different problem-solving strategies. Such changes are more easily introduced by firms that do not rely on tightly-defined modular design rules.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2005|
|Date of revision:||Jul 2005|
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