New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Sarianna M. Lundan
Chapter 10: Competence accumulation and collaborative ventures: evidence from the largest European electronics forms and implications for EU technological policies
Chapter 10 21/6/02 11:15 AM Page 1 10. Competence accumulation and collaborative ventures: evidence from the largest European electronics firms and implications for EU technological policies Marco Giarratana and Salvatore Torrisi INTRODUCTION This chapter analyses the accumulation of technological capabilities of large European firms operating in the information and communication industries (computers, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and consumer electronics) (ICT). The position of Europe in these sectors is weak compared with the US and Japan. This is clearly shown by the share of total US patenting in the following technological classes: electronic capital goods and components, telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics. With few exceptions (such as Thomson-CSF in electronic components and Siemens and Philips in telecommunications) the share of European firms among the world’s largest innovators is small and declining between 1969 and 1990. Technological specialization of European firms in these technologies is also weak and declining (Patel and Pavitt, 1994). However, more recently, new European firms have reached the technological frontier in these sectors (e.g., Nokia and Ericsson in mobile communication). The European firms operating in the ICT sectors have tried to catch up with the US and Japanese world leaders by relying on both in-house R&D and R&D collaborations. The economics literature has pointed out many potential benefits of R&D collaborative agreements: risk sharing, exploitation of economies of scale and scope, reduced duplication of research efforts, access to complementary assets and reduction of time to market (Teece, 1986; Jorde and Teece, 1990). Through R&D...
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