The Decline of Wang
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This brought Wang in a very few years to the position of a world leader in word processing. ... application software packages offered to PC customers was for word processing. ...

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The Decline of Wang

Only a few remember today that Wang was a big name in the 1980s. The company was one of the first to sense the potential in office automation and more particularly in word processing. In the late 1970s, Wang’s computers and software were widely accepted as a standard for word processing in the industrialized nations. Wang made its success by designing a family of special purpose computers, specifically optimized for the tasks of word processing. These machines treated text much faster and more efficiently than the general purpose main-frame

Decline of Wang, Management of Technological Innovation, KV Patri


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computers then available. At that time, personal computers (PCs) were not yet popular and flexible as they became by the end of 1980s. The technology offered by Wang was by far the best answer to the need for computer assisted word processing. This brought Wang in a very few years to the position of a world leader in word processing.

Unfortunately for Wang, the advances made in microprocessors and in compact memory devices soon allowed the building and marketing of a new generation of general purpose personal computers known as PCs. One of the first application software packages offered to PC customers was for word processing. The possibility replacing the typewriter with a much more flexible and powerful machine was one of the driving factors that made PCs so popular in a very short time (Substitute Products).

Decline of Wang, Management of Technological Innovation, KV Patri


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In the mid-1980s, Wang was still claiming that PC word processing was no threat to its interests in the much more demanding professional market—namely, large and medium-size corporations. These accounted for a major percentage of its customer base. At that time, if Wang’s management had seen the future more realistically, the company could have used its financial strength to become a full competitor in the PC market, or could have capitalized on its word processing software experience and adapt it for use in PCs. Instead, Wang chose to keep its special purpose hardware and software as inadequate weapons in the losing battle against the new intruders. By the end of the 1980s, the technology offered by Wang was largely obsolescent and the company sank into oblivion.

Decline of Wang, Management of Technological Innovation, KV Patri


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