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QWERTY and the search for optimality

  • Kay, Neil M
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    This paper shows how one of the developers of QWERTY continued to use the trade secret that underlay its development to seek further efficiency improvements after its introduction. It provides further evidence that this was the principle used to design QWERTY in the first place and adds further weight to arguments that QWERTY itself was a consequence of creative design and an integral part of a highly efficient system rather than an accident of history. This further serves to raise questions over QWERTY's forced servitude as 'paradigm case' of inferior standard in the path dependence literature. The paper also shows how complementarities in forms of intellectual property rights protection played integral roles in the development of QWERTY and the search for improvements on it, and also helped effectively conceal the source of the efficiency advantages that QWERTY helped deliver.

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    Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2013-103.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:528
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