The Disruptive technology reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Disruptive technology

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The term disruptive technology was coined by Clayton M. Christensen to describe a new, low cost, often simpler technology that displaces an existing sustaining technology.

Disruptive technologies are usually initially inferior to the technology that they displace, but their low cost creates a market that induces technological and economic network effects that provide the incentive to enhance them to match and surpass the previous technology.

Disruptive Technology Displaced Technology
Printing press Manuscripts, Scriptorium>Scriptoria
railways canals
the automobile railways
digital cameras photographic film
mass-market cellular telephony fixed-line telephony
voice over IP analog and fixed digital telephone systems
ADSL ISDN
Internet Protocol suite proprietary or fixed-configuration [network]]s
EIDE/UDMA hard drives SCSI hard drives
minicomputers mainframe computers
personal computers minicomputers
open-source software proprietary software
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Not all technologies promoted as disruptive technologies have actually prospered as well as their proponents had hoped. However, some of these technologies have only been around for a few years, and their ultimate fate has not yet been determined.

Unresolved examples of technologies promoted as 'disruptive technologies'

Failed technologies originally promoted as 'disruptive technologies'