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Transforming Global Information and Communication MarketsThe Political Economy of Innovation$
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Peter F. Cowhey and Jonathan D. Aronson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012850

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012850.001.0001

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Modularity at the Inflection Point

Modularity at the Inflection Point

Chapter:
(p.43) 3 Modularity at the Inflection Point
Source:
Transforming Global Information and Communication Markets
Author(s):

Peter F. Cowhey

Jonathan D. Aronson

Donald Abelson

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012850.003.0004

This chapter argues that the dynamics produced by the rise of modularity in microelectronics, broadband networking, software, and digital content are increasingly about increasing speed and power with plunging costs, flexible combinations of inputs, and the spread of information and communication technology (ICT) intensive processes. It also addresses two metaphors for the future of the industry: the “systems engineering” metaphor and the “fashion industry” metaphor. The chapter suggests that both of these provide a broader range of insights into the implications of modularity. It shows that modularity reinforced the promise of digital technology, which enabled the microelectronic revolution of diverse processing power with inexpensive powerful terminals and massive storage to provide a powerful infrastructure for centralized and decentralized IT applications.

Keywords:   modularity, microelectronics, broadband networking, software, digital content, ICT, systems engineering, fashion industry, digital technology

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