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Innovation and Dominant Design in Mobile Telephony

Authors/Editors: Koski, H.
Kretschmer, T.
Published: 2007
Type: Articles in Refereed Journals (International)
ISBN/ISSN: 1366-2716
Published by: Industry & Innovation, 14(3), pp. 305-324


We document the evolution of product innovation and features in the mobile telephone handset market. We distinguish between two types of product innovation: vertical and horizontal innovation. Using data on mobile telephone handsets from 1990 to 2003, we study the emergence of a dominant design in vertical and horizontal innovations and find that, while vertical product characteristics converged to some extent, no dominant design emerged. For horizontal product characteristics, some horizontal innovations remained differentiated, whereas others were adopted in all new handset models, thus forming a dominant design in horizontal product features. We explain this pattern using the concept of dominant design and results from the theoretical literature on the incentives for horizontal and vertical differentiation.