A Tale of Two PC Industries: Technology, Environment and Managerial Action In Shaping the Japanese and US Personal Computer Industry


This paper examines the evolution of the personal computer industry in Japan and compares it to that of the US. We examine the interplay of board institutional factors, technology and firm capabilities and managerial actions. We find that the interaction technological forces and customer needs determine the general manner in which an industry's value chain is structured and this drove the Japanese and US personal computer industries, to have a similar network structure of suppliers. Firm capabilities and managerial actions played a strong role in the specific form of that network structure as managers contended with institutional factors, which were essentially given. This combination of institutional factors, fundamental technological relationships and managerial decision accounts for the substantial difference in the evolutionary paths followed by the Japanese and US cases.

David Thomas METHE
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
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