The Disruptive technology reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from

Disruptive technology

Watch videos on African life
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
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
add more examples here... add more examples here...

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'