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Apple is often noted for its innovation; its iPhone and iPod are well-known examples of successful innovation by an established company. But a paper by Thierry Rayna (London Metropolitan Business School) and Ludmila Striukova (University College London) makes an interesting argument: that one thing Apple’s innovation history illustrates is the challenges of being a first-mover in a technology market.
In a paper titled “The Curse of the First-mover,” Rayna and Striukova take a look at two Apple innovations that were not great commercial successes — the Lisa computer in the early 1980s and the Newton PDA in the early 1990s — as well as two that have been — the iMac and the iPod. The authors argue that the Lisa and the Newton were both actually more radical technological innovations than the iMac, the iPod or the iPhone — which, according to Rayna and Striukova, can be categorized as incremental innovations within existing categories of products.