Even though COMPCO's competencies had been deliberately highlighted, put on center stage, their incompetencies were waiting in the wings to fill in for activities that were not carefully connected to the competencies.
One important insight from COMPCO is that a firm renowned for its customer responsiveness and clearly not a stodgy old bureaucracy nonetheless became mired in its incompetencies. These incompetencies worked well enough for years to help people with the complexities of new product development.
Over the years, again perhaps lulled by market dominance and limited competition, these competencies had evolved into detached incompetencies. Customer needs became abstracted and simplified into technical properties of quality, low cost, and convenience of use.
Again, these incompetencies seemed to work well enough for years.
True to its incompetencies, the developers never worked closely with customers to find out if these "neat" features were actually desired.
As with HARDPOLY at COMPCO, behind these explanations one can see a reliance on core incompetencies, in this case of developing and pushing neat technology onto unarticulated and unstudied needs.