The original theory of disruption, now known as new market disruption, was detailed in Christensen’s seminal paper Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave and expanded on in the classic book The Innovator’s Dilemma. Based primarily on a detailed study of the disk drive industry, the theory of new market disruption describes how incumbent companies ignore new technologies that don’t serve the needs of their customers or fit within their existing business models. However, as the new technology, which excels on completely different attributes than the incumbent’s product, continues to mature, it eventually takes over the market.
It is Christensen’s second theory of disruption – low-end disruption – that I believe is flawed. Christensen first described this theory in Disruption, Disintegration and the dissipation of differentiability, and expanded on it in The Innovator’s Solution. It is this theory that is at the basis of Christensen’s critique of Apple quoted above.
Every single component, every process, has been considered and measured to make sure that it’s truly useful and that it actually enhances the user’s experience.
The business buyer, famously, does not care about the user experience
Some consumers inherently know and value quality, look-and-feel, and attention to detail, and are willing to pay a premium that far exceeds the financial costs of being vertically integrated.
"So we’ve found a way to make our products such that the experience is jaw-dropping. The quality and precision are just unbelievable, really. But we can do this for a lot of people. A whole lot of people." Tim Cook
"The experience of a product. How it will make someone feel. Will it make life better?" Apple Commercial
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Apple has won through integration, but integration combined with network effects and economies of scale can...Apple has won through integration, but integration combined with network effects and economies of scale can result in bad outcomes that look a lot like monopolies.