Technical consortium

Here, two or more entities collaborate in a large venture because the resources of one are inadequate to affect the direction of technological change. Typically this type of venture takes place between two countries or two large conglomerates. For example, a consortium was formed between France and England to develop a supersonic place (the Concorde). Both nations needed to combine their technical and financial resources to develop expensive technology and, in the meantime, to compete with their rivals in the United States. Several similar ventures and consortia exist under the auspices of the European Union (EU). EU supports include “Race”, a project to advance communication technology; “Espirit”, for information technology; and “Jessi”, to bolster semiconductor research. Project “Eureka” is an independent research program involving 24 nations.  

All these cooperative projects are aimed at advance research, develop technology, and transfer knowledge to participating member states. The Japanese government, through its Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), fosters alliances between industry and government in projects of national interest and scope.  

Examples include the VLSI project undertaken to make the Japanese semiconductor industry competitive and the Fifth Generation project, which focuses on advancing artificial intelligence and parallel processing. American industry has also changed some of its ways of doing business, moving from a continuous-competition and closed-technology mode of operation to a more flexible, cooperative mode. Examples are the cooperation between IBM, Apple, and Motorola to produce the power chip for the personal computer; between Microsoft and NBC to tap into the future of the multimedia industry; and between Apple and Microsoft to exploit each other’s strength in technology.

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