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From Blockbuster to Blockchain: How To Manage a Not-Quite-Settled Technology Platform

In this era of Netflix and online media that can be accessed anywhere, it is easy to forget that we used to have to work a little harder to get entertained. In the first few years of the new millennium, a typical home movie experience often began with a trip to the local Blockbuster store. There was a bewildering array of plastic movie cases that you had to pick up and investigate before making your final selection. Upon reaching the cashier, the sales associate would retrieve the appropriate disc for your selected movie and put it in the box before sending you on your way.

What made this ritual all the more challenging, however, was the fact that there was more than one type of disc format during the period 2006–2008. On one side of the store were the movies available for the HD DVD format, a technology platform led by Toshiba; on the other, movies for Sony’s Blu-ray machines. For the most part, the companies that produced movies had pledged allegiance to one of the formats or the other, but not to both of them. Blockbuster customers during this period were consequently faced with a dilemma. Everyone who had witnessed the drawn-out battle between VHS video tapes and Sony’s Betamax in the previous generation of Blockbuster products suspected that some kind of shakeout in the disc industry would probably happen eventually, and no one wanted to be left holding the bag with a disc player and movie collection tethered to the losing side. Thankfully, however, this problem was solved when Toshiba threw in the towel in 2008, leaving Sony’s platform as the undisputed winner in the movie disc technology war.

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From Blockbuster to Blockchain: How To Manage a Not-Quite-Settled Technology Platform

Robert K. Perrons, Queensland University of Technology; Tonya Cosby, Intel; and Ross Philo, Energistics

01 December 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 12

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