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Recovering from SuccessInnovation and Technology Management in Japan$
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D. Hugh Whittaker and Robert E. Cole

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297320.001.0001

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Technology management and competitiveness in the Japanese semiconductor industry 1

Technology management and competitiveness in the Japanese semiconductor industry 1

(p.70) 4 Technology management and competitiveness in the Japanese semiconductor industry1
Recovering from Success

Takashi Yunogami

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the quality regime ultimately deriving from NTT (and the Japanese government, as customer) may have been vital in the ascent of DRAMs in the 1980s, as in telecoms, but it created a path dependent approach to innovation which proved disastrous when the main use of DRAMs switched from mainframes to personal computers. As the market share plummeted, Japanese semiconductor engineers continued to take solace in the fact that they were ‘not beaten in technology’, an attitude which further condemned them to failure. They failed to develop cost-competitive technology and restructuring efforts proved ineffective.

Keywords:   Japanese semiconductor industry, technology, DRAMs, competitiveness, quality, path dependence

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