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Keep your enemies closer

One of the most interesting things about technology strategy is that the lines of competition between different businesses is always blurry. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this, would anyone 10 years ago have predicted that:

I’m betting not too many people saw these coming. Well, a short while ago, the New York Times Tech Blog decided to chart some of this out, highlighting how the boundaries between some of the big tech giants out there (Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo) are blurring:


Its an oversimplification of the complexity and the economics of each of these business moves, but its still a very useful depiction of how tech companies wage war: they keep their enemies so close that they eventually imitate their business models.

(Chart credit)

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  1. gaganbiyani gaganbiyani

    Great post, Ben. Totally believe that you should be close to your “competitors.” At Udemy, we meet with everyone in the education industry regardless of whether we think they are competitors or potential allies. Ultimately, when you're small (and I know you're not just talking about small companies but I'll focus on what I know), its stupid to not talk to your competitors. Worst case scenario, they will reveal something about the market that you didn't know. Best case scenario, you could become a close ally to them and even partner together…

  2. […] as I’ve pointed out before, the lines between enemy and friend are murky in the technology strategy space. It would seem that Microsoft may have just thrown HTC (and hence […]

  3. […] I’ve mentioned before that one of the greatest things about being in the technology space is how quickly the lines of competition rapidly change. […]

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