Disruptive Technological Change in the Mechanical Excavator Industry

art Excavators and their steam shovel predecessors are huge pieces of capital equipment sold to excavation contractors. While few observers consider this a fast-moving, technologically dynamic industry, it has points in common with the disk drive industry: Over its history, leading firms have successfully adopted a series of sustaining innovations, both incremental and radical, in components and architecture, but almost the entire population of mechanical shovel manufacturers was wiped out by a disruptive technology—hydraulics—that the leaders’ customers and ...

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