Today, I caught this nice series of tweets by @benedictevans on the rise and demise of tech giants. Unlike smaller companies, those do not die abruptly, or in a direct fight with the competition. Instead, they get sidelined by smarter and more innovative upstarts.
The series starts with:
Tech monopolies tend not to fall like Rome. They fall like Venice. They’re still there, and no-one actually invades them, but the trade routes moved, the things that gave them power and wealth stop mattering, and they become just another city, and then a backwater.
Microsoft didn’t take IBM’s mainframe business, and Apple and Google didn’t take Microsoft’s businesses in PC operating systems or spreadsheets. And those businesses have a long half life, but they stopped being the means for dominance. No-one is scared of IBM or Microsoft today.