Design Rules, Volume 2: Chapter 15 The IBM PC
28 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 18, 2021
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.
Keywords: Technology, Organizations, Modularity
JEL Classification: L1,L2,O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation