Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations: Chapter 15 The IBM PC

Chapter 15 of Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations, 2019

Harvard Business School Research Paper Series # 19-074

32 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Carliss Y. Baldwin

Carliss Y. Baldwin

Harvard Business School, Finance Unit

Date Written: January 22, 2019

Abstract

The IBM PC was the first digital computer platform that was open by as a matter of strategy, not necessity. The purpose of this chapter is to understand the IBM PC as a technical system and set of organization choices in light of the theory of how technology shapes organizations. In Chapter 7, I argued that sponsors of large technical systems (including platform systems) must manage the modular structure of the system and property rights in a way that solves four inter-related problems:

• Provide all essential functional components;
• Solve system-wide technical bottlenecks wherever they emerge;
• Control and protect one or more strategic bottleneck; and
• Prevent others from gaining control of any system-wide strategic bottleneck.

I use this framework to understand how IBM initially succeeded with the PC platform and then lost its position as platform sponsor in the industry it had created.

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Carliss Y., Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations: Chapter 15 The IBM PC (January 22, 2019). Chapter 15 of Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations, 2019; Harvard Business School Research Paper Series # 19-074. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320532 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3320532

Carliss Y. Baldwin (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School, Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
30
Abstract Views
122
PlumX Metrics