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Evolution and Competition in the Market for Handheld Computers


  • Wegberg,Marc,van



Since the early 1990s, electronic organisers or electronic agendas have been evolving towards fully fledged, but miniature, computers. This paper is a case study about this market. Uniquely, and reminiscent of the home computer market in the 1980s, this is a market for personal computers not dominated by Microsoft. Or at least, not yet. In tracking the evolution of this market, the paper points especially to the importance of networking and standardization. The market for handheld computers is a small market, compared to the units shipped in the market for PCs. Nevertheless a surprisingly large number of vendors has been and still is active in this market. During the short history of this market, there have been several periods where technological breakthroughs created expectations of huge growth, with entry by new suppliers as a result. As the dust settled, the losers either changed strategy, or left the market altogether. The paper will argue that standardization and networking are major factors in explaining competitive success and the recent growth of the industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Wegberg,Marc,van, 1998. "Evolution and Competition in the Market for Handheld Computers," Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Netherlands Institute of Business Organization and Strategy Research (NIBOR).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umanib:1998003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jerome Foncel & Marc Ivaldi, 2005. "Operating System Prices In The Home Pc Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 265-297, June.
    2. Wegberg,Marc,van, 1999. "The Design of Standardisation Processes in ICT: An evolutionary transaction cost approach," Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Netherlands Institute of Business Organization and Strategy Research (NIBOR).

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