The Iridium mobile satellite venture is a case study on how innovative technology can be confused with market innovation. The network of 66 interconnected low-orbit satellites was a marvel in the 1990s, enabling phone calls to be placed from any point on the globe. But Iridium’s backers did not foresee the explosion in the use of low-cost terrestrial cellular telephones that occurred while their satellites were being built and orbited. By the time the service was inaugurated in late 1998, ...

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