Will High Tech Innovation Come From the Big or Small Players?

Tuesday in class we discussed whether high tech innovation is likely to come from start-ups and entrepreneurs or from the already established players like Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. While the big players may face difficulties in pivoting to new technology and adapting to changed market preferences, I think the big players also have the resources, capital, and knowledge to create the “next new thing.”

One of the most valuable assets that entrepreneurs need is knowledge about their customers. Big players have extensive databases of consumer preferences.

Most of us have probably heard about Amazon’s efforts to develop consumer drone technology. This recent article reporting that Amazon has gotten FAA approval to proceed reminded me of the above mentioned discussion. While as an e-commerce business shipping is crucial so the success of its business, I don’t see the development of drones naturally aligned with Amazon. Therefore, perhaps this is an example of one of how the big players are leaders in developing innovative technology.


One thought on “Will High Tech Innovation Come From the Big or Small Players?

  1. I think another important reason why many of the “big players” contribute so much high tech innovation is their relationships with universities. This ties into Julia’s comment on the capital these companies have. They can afford to pay universities top dollar for license rights to new technology. Many startups simply don’t have that ability. Once they get their hands on new technology, they are also in a better position to further engage in R & D and ultimately commercialization. I do think however that in certain areas where development is fairly low cost (like with app development), the big players and smaller companies are on a more even playing field in terms of innovation.