IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 11 Number 1 -- Reviews
Original Publication Date: 1989-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Software Patent Institute
WILLIAM ASPRAY: AUTHOR [+2]
THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.
Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.
The Reviews Department features reviews of films, audio and videotapes, exhibits, and publications relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of any technical, economic, business, social, or institutional aspect of the history of computing will be given a complete review. Dissertations, articles, and other studies of interest to Annals readers will be listed in a section on "Other Literature," with full bibliographic citation and notes on their nature and availability. From time to time we will also invite longer essay reviews on important research topics, the published literature on these topics, and further opportunities for research.
Most reviews are solicited, but colleagues are encouraged to participate by indicating their wish to review a work or by suggesting Utles to the Reviews Editor.
NB: Reviews without bylines are by the editor.
Dorfman, Nancy S. Innovation and Market Structure: Lessons from the Computer and Semiconductor Industries. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger, 1987.
Nancy Dorfman's study of innovation in the computer industry -- and certain of its upstream supplier industries, including printers, disk drives, and integrated circuits -- is an interesting attempt to understand the historical role that large, established firms and small, new entrants have played in driving technological change in these businesses. The book's major strength is its systematic assembly of a substantial amount of historical material on the relatively unexamined relationships between large, established firms and small start-ups in the computer peripherals area. It is weakest in its historical summary of innovation in areas that have already been well documented in the literature, particularly mainframe computers.
The book begins with two chapters that attempt to orient the analysis within, and summarize, the economic literature on the relationship between firm size, market structure, and innovation. The summary may prove useful to the general reader, but specialists familiar with the area will find it somewhat dated. Missing, for example, are any references to the industrial organization literature of the last ten years which has focused on how firms' rivalrous investments in innovation can determine market structure, a view in which market structure and innovative activity are jointly determined. Dorfman basically adopts the older, unidirectional perspective of a predetermined market structure conditioning innovative activity.
Perhaps most importantly, there are no references to the "Arrow effect," the argument made by economist Kenneth Arrow in the early 1960s that an established firm with significant and unchallenged market power has less incentive to invest in a new process or product than a new entrant con...