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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews the literature on the (lack of) innovativeness of incumbents both in creating new products and entering new markets. It then presents some non-anecdotal evidence as counter-argument to the alleged curse of incumbency. First, it uses as illustration a cross-sectional study by Chandy and Tellis of a large number of radical product innovations. Secondly, it explores to what extent the story of incumbents' inability to enter new markets matches the history of the computer rigid hard drive industry. This industry is particularly suited to this analysis since its technological generational changes have been described by scholars as ‘radical’ and ‘disruptive,’ and because its history served to inspire Christensen's recent theories.

Keywords: Schumpeterian innovation, new products, new markets, product innovation, incumbents, computer industry

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