Building a Supply Chain for the Future Market Leader Position: Competitive Advantage in the History of the Computer Market

The computer industry is one of the most competitive market in the world. Computers are modularized and the components used in the computers are standardized. Therefore computers are highly standardized and commoditized. This makes very difficult for computer manufactures to differentiate the products. It is also difficult to focus on the niche market since the entry barrier to the computer market is low and the competitors can come into that market easily. Therefore, many computer manufactures try to take cost leadership strategy to build their competitive advantages against their competitors. The research question in this study is “What is the mechanism of building a competitive advantage in the computer market?” This paper studied the market leader turnovers in the computer history mainly from 1980s to the current. Through the study, it was found that turnovers can be categorized into two. One is that the gap after the turnover is big and recurrent turnover is not happening. Another is that the gap after the turnover is small and turnover is recurring. This study is using the case study method to analyze each turnover to find the mechanism of the competitive advantage. This study is done from the supply chain point of view. We can define the supply chain in any sort of manufacturing industries. As said before, when the products are modularized and commoditized, it will be difficult to differentiate by the products and most likely the competitive advantage will be based on the cost leadership. To gain the competitive advantage with the cost leadership strategy, differentiation of the supply chain might be one of the options. This study will explain how the supply chain can differentiate and support building the competitive advantage through the study of the computer market history.