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First in, First to Fail? Success and Failure of Technology Pioneers and Early Technology Market Leaders

It is often claimed that bringing a truly innovative product or service to market is key to capturing a large share of that market and to ensuring long-term market leadership. Consequently, companies and governments should invest in innovation. However, a claim to the contrary is that history, including the history of technological advances, shows that pioneers and early market leaders rarely reap the benefits of being first, but instead will be overtaken by companies that enter the market at a later time and provide similar but better products/services. Consequently, companies and governments should invest in imitation and improvement, not innovation.

In your report you should present evidence and arguments supporting each of the two claims outlined above and derive your own conclusion regarding which claim seems to reflect reality more accurately.

You can use the following tasks and questions to guide your essay:

Give definitions of `pioneer’ and of a `early market leader’ in a market for goods and services and briefly contrast the two definitions.
State six examples of pioneers or early market leaders in certain technology goods, technology-based services, or technology-related services markets that
have failed and have been replaced as market leaders by companies that entered the market later, or
have succeeded and are still market leaders.
Make sure that you have examples for both categories. Note that whether you identify a company as a `pioneer’ or `early market leader’ will depend on what you consider the market to be: For example, the `computer’ market is different from the `personal computer market’, the `database market’ is different from the `relational database market’. Also, sometimes companies in such closely related markets would be in competition which each other, sometimes not. Do not just give a historical account, but state the underlying reasons for success or failure in the case of each example. Make sure that the examples and the reasons given can be used to support the two items below (summary of reasons, conclusion).
Give a summary of the reasons why pioneers and early market leaders fail or succeed.
Derive and justify your own conclusion regarding the extent to which pioneers and early market leaders are more likely to succeed or fail.

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