Japan need not dominate the information-technology marketplace, Davidson (Global Strategic Management) reasonably concludes;...


THE AMAZING RACE: Winning the Techno-rivalry with Japan

Japan need not dominate the information-technology marketplace, Davidson (Global Strategic Management) reasonably concludes; but his disparate material on the competition is sometimes too generalized and humdrum for specialists, sometimes too specialized for anyone else--while his specific prognostications are subject to momentary change. The first two-fifths of the book consists of what every alert businessperson now knows about Japanese industrial strategy (centralization and high volume, penetration at the low-price end of the market, etc.); the Japanese industrial system (low profit ratios, worker-group participation, national planning and resource allocation); and the protracted failure of US government and industry to meet the Japanese challenge (a generally moderate, but also pretty vapid, assessment). Then, with a reminder that the information-processing industry differs from others, the second section takes a detailed look at its three major sectors (semiconductors, computers, communications equipment and services), the segments within each sector (e.g., logic chips, memory chips, microprocessors), and the state-of-the-art (plus some comparative strengths) in each. The third section focuses on the competition per se--which segments of the industry the Japanese might try to take over and what chance American firms have to head them off. In the latter case, Davidson banks heavily on IBM and ATT--by analogy, in part, with other giant US firms that sometimes surprisingly have held their market share: Kodak at the low-price end of the amateur camera market, John Deere and Caterpillar in the tractor market, etc. But insofar as these companies bucked the rules of Japanese penetration, their success renders much of Davidson's finicky, segment-by-segment appraisal pointless. More to the point (but also very well-known) is the new competitive-consciousness in the US, at both the governmental and business level. Altogether, most readers would be better served by a combination of broad analysis (cf. Industrial Renaissance, by Abernathy et al.) and periodic, business-journal updates.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1983