CHAPTER THREE

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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