Does first mover advantage exist?

Oliver Burkeman in the Guardian this weekend addresses the topic of ‘first mover advantage’ – much as he doesn’t use the term.  But his fundamental point is very sound, that very often the first businesses to introduce a novelty are forgotten, and leave it to others to develop the idea effectively.  He rightly points to Apple with the iPod as an example of a business which took others’ ideas and incorporated them into a successful product.  I’d just add, that Apple have been clever enough to continue improvements to the iPod and derivatives, and to know when to bring successive products to the market.  And also that Apple weren’t the first business to take technology that somebody else had invented, and use it to create a personal music player.  Sony did something very similar with the first walkman a generation earlier, recognising that the technology existed to make small portable tape players and that it could be incorporated into consumer products.


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