Unlike its competitors who were in the market first with MP3 players (the likes of iRiver, Rio, etc.), Apple had a compelling service that matched the product - iTunes.
The service was as compelling as the product (the emphasis of the analogy) and allowed an active user base to migrate to a legal platform from the then illegal Napster, at least those fearful of the RIAA's increasing threats and actions. As part of the service, Steve Jobs had managed to convince a hugely sceptical music industry to allow tracks to be sold digitally. Not that they had much choice in the face of ever increasing declines due to ever increasing piracy but a huge feat nonetheless.
The point is that Steve Jobs managed to tap into demand that already existed (MP3 players were already selling and digital downloads had already started, albeit illegally), very innovatively and very quickly and he threw all his might at it. He took advantage of an opportunity and according to research into Innovation success rates that I recently read about, this is the greatest determinant to Innovation success.
The key points of my very long winded comment (:-)) is that matching demand with innovation is a key ingredient for crossing the chasm, ingredients very often missing from many a start-ups portfolio in their quest to "cross the chasm". Of course as you pointed out, money and brand are important, but these points I've just mentioned are too. Hope this contributes to a worthy topic...
I'm just back from a little break and after reading two interesting articles in the latest print edition of Newsweek (yes I still do some of my reading offline :)), I thought I'd share links to the online versions here which might go to show that enterprises have finally "crossed the chasm", if any evidence was still required:
- Power In Numbers How wiki software is reforming bloated bureaucracies and changing the face of communication
- A 'Free-Form Attitude' As corporations, nonprofits and even governments make use of the free-form technology that is the wiki, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales weighs in on the power of collaboration.