Unbundling is a neologism to describe how the ubiquity of mobile devices, Internet connectivity, consumer web technologies, social media and information access in the 21st century is affecting older institutions (education, broadcasting, newspapers, games, shopping, etc.) by "break[ing] up the packages they once offered (possibly even for free), providing particular parts of them at a scale and cost unmatchable by the old order." Unbundling has been called "the great disruptor".
"Unbundling" most basically means simply the "process of breaking apart something into smaller parts." In the context of mergers and acquisitions, unbundling refers to the "process by which a large company with several different lines of business retains one or more core businesses and sells off the remaining assets, product/service lines, divisions or subsidiaries."
- Massive open online courses are "part of a trend towards the unbundling of higher education" by providing access to recorded lectures, online tests, and digital documents as a complement to traditional classroom instruction. Online program management providers are also increasingly unbundling services in higher education, which some argue "reflects increasing sophistication—and capacity—of colleges and universities as they launch new online programs."
- Software unbundling Some IBM Computer software "products" were distributed "free" (no charge for the software itself, a common practice early in the industry). The term "Program Product" was used by IBM to denote that it's not for free.
- One of IBM's COBOL Compilers was "PP 5688-197 IBM COBOL for MVS and VM 1.2.0" which one IBMer described as Quote PP := "Program Product" aka "you pay for it" EndQuote. By contrast, the same source had: Neither the F or D versions of the COBOL compiler were ever "rented" ... (or) even copyrighted...
- The majority of software packages written by IBM were available at no charge to IBM customers. (Even non-IBM customers could pay (only) for the reproduction costs and get them from IBM. All this changed, of course, with New World (June 1969), but that didn't alter the status of products released prior to that date.":this and other tidbits is from a Looking-Back blog article
- Pandora Radio
- The addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big 10 Conference was described as part of a larger trend towards the unbundling of each university's broadcast rights to maintain profitability.
- The CEO of Mashable predicted that unbundled news contents' "microcontent sharing" via software like Flipboard (Android and iOS), Zite and Spun (iPhone) would be a major trend in 2013.
- LinkedIn has embraced a multi-app strategy and now has a family of six separate apps—The LinkedIn 'Mothership' app and 'satellite' apps ranging from job search to tailored news 
- The customers that live in large apartment complexes and multiple dwelling units can be unbundled in a way that allows multiple providers to reach each of the different units.
- Information Age
- Creative destruction
- Disruptive innovation
- Asset stripping
- List of emerging technologies
- Paradigm shift
- Technology strategy
- Killer application
- Watters, Audrey (September 5, 2012). "Unbundling and Unmooring: Technology and the Higher Ed Tsunami". educause.edu. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- https://groups.google.com/d/topic/alt.folklore.computers/RZA6FD27Tc0 a discussion group: OS/360: Forty years
- Chatfield, Tom (23 November 2012). "Can schools survive in the age of the web?". bbc.com.
- Pakman, David (April 15, 2011). "The Unbundling of Media". Retrieved 19 Dec 2012.
- "Unbundling". businessdictionary.com. Retrieved 19 Dec 2012.
- "Unbundling". investopedia. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
- "Not what it used to be: American universities represent declining value for money to their students". economist.com. Dec 1, 2012.
- "Backward Innovation: The Great Unbundling of Higher Ed's Online Service Providers". edsurge.com. May 4, 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
- otherwise known as Unbundling
- "The great unbundling". informationarbitrage.com. November 24, 2012. Retrieved 19 Dec 2012.
- Richmond, Shane (August 4, 2010). "Flipboard: The Closest Thing I've Seen to the Future of Magazines". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Cashmore, Pete (December 11, 2012). "Big Idea 2013: Unbundling Media". linkedin.com.
- Kapko, Matt (August 26, 2014). "An Inside Look at LinkedIn's 'Unbundling' Mobile Strategy". CIO Magazine.
- Ryan, Patrick S; Zwart, Breanna; Whitt, Richard S; Goldburg, Marc; Cerf, Vinton G (2015-08-04). "The Problem of Exclusive Arrangements in Multiple Dwelling Units: Unlocking Broadband Growth in Indonesia and the Global South". The 7th Indonesia International Conference on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Small Business (IICIES 2015): 1–16. SSRN 2637654. Cite journal requires
- Alan Jacobs, The Great Unbundling of the University theatlantic.com January 23, 2012
- Benjamin Lima, Massive online learning and the unbundling of undergraduate education July 17, 2012
- McKinsey & Company Unbundling the corporation June 2000
- Justin Reich, Will Technology Lead to the Unbundling of Schools? Education Week, May 17, 2012