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This article considers what factors determine whether an innovation becomes a foundation for future technological developments rather than a "dea end." The authors introduce the concept of the technological niche, which includes a focal innovation, the innovations on which the focal innovations builds, the innovations that build upon the focal innovation, and the technological ties among the innovations within the niche. Using patents and patent citations to measure characteristics of innovation niches within the semiconductor industry, the authors show that the size of the niche and the status of the actors within the niche have a positive effect on the likelihood that subsequent innovations will build upon the focal innovation. Competitive intensity within the niche has a negative effect on this likelihood.