In some ways, the digital age can be seen as beginning with the release of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. It is hard now to recall that someone as wise as Clayton Christensen said at the time of its release that the iPhone “wasn’t truly disruptive.” It was “a product that the existing players in the industry are heavily motivated to beat,” and that “its probability of success is going to be limited.”

Five years later, in 2012, Christensen was still saying that the iPhone would soon succumb to price competition and modular knockoffs. “History,” Christensen said, “speaks pretty loudly on that.”

Nine years after that, in 2021, and trillions of dollars more in profits, the iPhone is still going strong. What Christensen missed was that Apple had created not just an industrial-era product, but a digital platform, in which developers…

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