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Industry restructuring through alliances: "open systems" and the European mainframe computer industry

Author: Gabel, H. Landis ; Cool, Karel O.INSEAD Area: Economics and Political Science ; Strategy In: European industrial restructuring in the 1990s - Cool, Karel;Neven, Damien J.;Walter, Ing - 1992 - INSEAD Book Language: EnglishDescription: p. 357-380.Type of document: INSEAD ChapterNote: Please ask the Library for this chapter.Abstract: The case describes the unfolding battle between the two rival "open systems" (or open standards) groups, Unix International and OSF, in the mainframe computer industry, in early 1990. It reviews the history of the "open systems" movement and raises issues about its prospects emphasising the competitive positions of the European mainframe vendors. The objectives of the case are to lead to an understanding of how "open systems" alliances' impact on industry restructuring when technologies with network externalities are involved and to explore the following questions: given the dominance of a "propietary" systems offering, what are the feasible strategies for the follower firms with smaller proprietary systems; how are "open systems" alliances created and sustained and how can the dominant firms maintain their market position and thus prevent dramatic industry restructuring ?
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The case describes the unfolding battle between the two rival "open systems" (or open standards) groups, Unix International and OSF, in the mainframe computer industry, in early 1990. It reviews the history of the "open systems" movement and raises issues about its prospects emphasising the competitive positions of the European mainframe vendors. The objectives of the case are to lead to an understanding of how "open systems" alliances' impact on industry restructuring when technologies with network externalities are involved and to explore the following questions: given the dominance of a "propietary" systems offering, what are the feasible strategies for the follower firms with smaller proprietary systems; how are "open systems" alliances created and sustained and how can the dominant firms maintain their market position and thus prevent dramatic industry restructuring ?

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