An example that has nothing to do with “high tech” comes from the mechanical excavator industry. This industry was dominated by steam shovels until the 1920’s, when gasoline powered engines began to replace them. This was, however, not a disruptive innovation, but a sustaining one, even though the design of the machines changed radically from that of a steam-powered system of cables, to that of a gasoline engine driving a system to extend and retract the cable connected to the bucket. The new engines were more capable than the old ones, and were better at doing more work more reliably, and cheaper than the old system. Despite the radical change in the industry, the same firms that were strongest in steam shovels stayed on top. The disruptive change came with the introduction of hydraulic-actuated systems after World War II - a change that eliminated nearly all of the established players by about 1970, in favor of companies that entered the market with hydraulics. The first hydraulic-based excavators were less capable than the cable systems that were in existence, and certainly couldn’t compete with them. However, they were small enough that they could be deployed for jobs previously done by hand, opening up a new market, in which the desired attributes were quite different from the big jobs that the cable actuated excavators were used for. The technology involved in hydraulics continued to improve, however, and with time eventually equaled and then surpassed the needs formerly filled by cable-based systems. In the meantime, though, the established firms were still going strong, and didn’t do much, if anything, to deal with the new competitor (because it wasn’t really seen as a competitor, not being sufficient for their existing clients’ demands) until the new arrivals were “in the midst of their mainstream market”. By the time the established companies introduced their own hydraulics, however, it was too late, and the later entrants were by then better positioned with the new technology.