Overcoming A Standard Bearer: Challenges to NEC's Personal Computer in Japan


In this paper we examine the process by which a standard bearer loses its leading position in a market. We put forth a framework of four factors needed to overturn existing standard bearers, including superior price/performance competition in the context of network externalities, the ability of the standard bearer to adopt new technologies, the strength of proprietary rights of the existing standard, and competitor's willingness and ability to challenge the standard bearer. We use this framework to examine three types of failed challenges to NEC's position as the standard bearer in the Japanese personal computer market, along with a recent attempt that appear more likely to succeed.

David Thomas METHE
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: (81) 78 803 7036
Fax: (81) 78 803 7059