The Computer Industry in East and West: Do Eastern European Countries Need a Specific Science and Technology Policy?
National science and technology (S&T) systems are mentioned, in politics as well as in science, as a condition for the competitiveness of domestic high technology industries. An active S&T policy has, therefore, great importance for governments. Eastern European countries see, in an active S&T policy, the key for the creation of a new computer industry, which collapsed with socialism. With an industrial economic analysis of the market segments: PC, workstation, mini and mainframe computer and supercomputers this hypothesis is rejected for Eastern Europe. It is shown that the Eastern European computer manufacturers are present only in the PC segment. The analysis of production conditions, competition axes used and the computer market structure shows further that domestic computer manufacturers are well positioned in the PC business and have no need for a national S&T system. They have quickly built up global supplier networks which enable them to use foreign S&T systems. Therefore, with the current conditions on the computer markets in Eastern Europe, setting up national S&T systems for computer technology is not required.
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