Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2013

Building on Complimentary Assets in a Unified TCP/IP World

Timo Seppälä, Martin Kenney

December 2012

Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy


The contemporary competition in the smartphone industry is an ideal setting for studying Schumpeterian creative destruction, the role of the complementary assets, and the strategic use of technology platforms. This current creative destruction is particularly interesting because the current convergence from previously separate industries is pitting firms with differing business models from the old telecommunications world against the operating system winners of the old personal computer, and competitors from the new internet world. This paper utilizes insights from the literature on complementary assets and technology platforms to understand the completion in smartphones. This paper contributes a broadened understanding of the contemporary industry convergence occurring with Internet and cloud computing at its unifying center, and with intelligent communications devices at its edges. Furthermore, this paper extends the current academic discussion of the changes in the mobile telecommunications industry to consider the possibility that cloud computing will integrate a plethora of new devices that will include personal computers, smartphones, the internet-enabled television, and a nearly infinite number of other devices that will provide data to the cloud.