As a follow-up on our previous post, the Economist has an interesting blog post Gone in a flash, which delves in the problem that for a technology company research is necessary but not sufficient for success, as I had pointed out in an earlier analysis of the fruits of R&D investment over a long time period.
An interesting comment in the Economist's blog post is that mergers and acquisitions are not necessarily useful. As Geoffrey A. Moore wrote in his latest book, the acquisition of a company is only fruitful if the buyer already has knowledge of that company's technology, so it can digest it.
If R&D is necessary, is it sufficient that a company must be able to digest research to feed its business? Digesting research is very difficult; maybe this is why companies fail over time: they are unable to find the leaders with this skill.