Friday, November 2, 2012

The Biggest Business Rivalries of All Time

Google v/s Facebook
“Don’t Be Evil” is the motto followed by one with provoking articles accusing it of wanting to take over the world. The other claims over seven hours of millions of lives every month yet scandalously claims ownership of everything users share on its site. It seems to be a battle for the future of the Internet. With all its fingers in pie, Facebook has review site Yelp to music platform Spotify to a billion-dollar deal with picture service Instagram. And even though it is clearly winning the battle for users’ attention, in 2011 it tried to sink a few more nails in the search engine’s coffin by pulling a shadow PR smear stunt targeting Google’s privacy issues. The move shed light on the sourness of this contest between the two rivals. Further indication came in early 2012 via a bidding war for the services of creator Kevin Rose, which Google ultimately won. Clearly the company has no intention of conceding a single page view to Mark Zuckerberg.

Lamborghini v/s Ferrari
Tractor manufacturing kingpin Ferruccio Lamborghini was a Ferrari owner who liked the high-end race car but felt it needed stern mechanical adjustments to be considered a road car. So he went and saw CEO Enzo Ferrari and utterly told him the car was “rubbish.” Predictably, Ferrari more or less told him to throw it. So Mr. Lamborghini decided to start his own auto company and make the “perfect car.” And by many accounts, the first car made available, the 1964 Lamborghini 350GT was a finer car than a Ferrari, ironical because several ex- Ferrari engineers had helped build it. The GT and the Lamborghinis that followed were higher quality and lower priced than the similar Ferraris. Together with Ferruccio Lamborghini’s denial to support the racing of his cars, a rivalry was created between two discrete yet related brands that continue today.

Hasbro v/s Mattel
Toy market comes with no surety. A must-have toy can be into the bin overnight. But two names in this industry still make kids beg in front of their parents, Hasbro and Mattel. Both the companies started off with their productions in early 1940’s. Barbie, Fisher Price and Hot Wheels make Mattel the larger of the two. Third of company’s revenue comes from Barbie alone. Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, and Tonka are the line of strength for Hasbro. Its famed GI Joe and Transformers toys help it dominate in the boys’ market. Luckily the U.S. toy industry is a $20 billion market, so there’s plenty of money to keep this rivalry going for many more years.

Adidas v/s Puma
Adidas’ rivalry with Puma makes it the best of bisness rivaly, as it’s the rivalry between siblings. In the early 1920s, Adolf Dassler began operating a sports shoe company out of his mother’s laundry room. Rudolf, his brother soon joined the company and crowded in there with him. Things were great for a while as the athletes began slipping on the shoes, most remarkably Jesse Owens in 1936. But things were not working well in the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. It was rumored that Rudolf’s capture by American forces in WWII and charge of being a Nazi SS member, a capture he blamed on Adi that caused the split. Others think they simply hated each other’s wives. No matter what the reason was, Rudolf quit in 1948 and moved across town to start Puma, leaving Adi Dassler to think of some humble name for his company. Not only did the business rivalry last for decades, but the hometown of each headquarters became so divided, people would look at other’s shoes before deigning to engage them in conversation. Now that’s a rivalry.

Apple v/s Microsoft
Just 14 years ago, Steve Jobs’ company was a $5.5 billion electronics company,outshined by software giant Microsoft’s $345 billion. The company that had transformed the personal computer industry had reached such a low point the year before that it had had to strike a deal with Microsoft, a company it had sued for copyright infringement just four years earlier, to bring Office to Macs. Jobs actually uttered the words, “We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose.” And yet, while Microsoft was involved in anti-trust lawsuits, Apple went on the attack with its victorious iMac. Later enters Mac OS X, followed by iPod and iTunes that exploded the scene. Microsoft began to have a reputation as the maker of virus-prone, dated products compared to Apple’s cutting-edge tech, an image helped along nicely by Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials. With roles now reversed, time will tell what the future holds for these two mega-corporations.

Nintendo v/s Sega
Xbox, the Playstation, and the Nintendo Wii are three majors in video gaming. Though rivalry among them is ferocious, it can’t touch the battle for supremacy that was Sega v/s Nintendo. In 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System hit U.S. store shelves. Sega Master System (with 3D glasses!) was launched in the market. In 1989, Genesis was launched introducing its cool new mascot Sonic the Hedgehog and declaring “Genesis does what Nintendo don’t.” Not to be outdone, Nintendo strike back with the Super Nintendo, which quickly outsold the Genesis. Sega countered with the paltry Saturn in 1995, only to be overpowered again by the Nintendo 64 in ’96. Sega made one last effort at consoles with the Dreamcast in 1998, which in true Sega style was visually impressive but poorly marketed. The company exited the industry in 2001, leaving Nintendo to take on new rivals and Sega fans to dream of what might have been.

Bangalore: This fact cannot be denied that all of us love to have a good fight. It’s always amusing to watch two forces collide. When this collide takes place in the market, consumers get the most out of it, as the two companies lower their price or enhance the quality of products they offer. A full-on rivalry comes into picture when two companies start fighting over same rupee with similar products and same strategies. Below mentioned are few such rivalries which are no less than a good entertainment.

Coke v/s Pepsi
“Coca Cola v/s Pepsi”! It’s been decades since these Cold drink giants are fighting over Indian cold drink market share. First it was cold drink, and then the fight extended for other sections like energy drinks, healthy snacks, namkeens etc.  Indira Nooyi has made great efforts to make ‘Pepsi’ a brand for young generation in India. Be it sponsoring Cricket World Cups to signing up young Brand Ambassadors and making youth specific slogans, they have done a lot to make ‘Pepsi’ a true brand. Coke on the other hand is still confused how to promote a single brand. They actually fail to unite brands like ‘Thumbs Up’ and ‘Coca Cola’ and these brands actually compete with each other. Coke needs to do a lot more to make people brand its other successful products likePulpy Orange’. Until that happen, Coke will struggle in India.

General Motors v/s Ford 
General Motors vs. Ford. The twocompanies have been battling it out for profits, market share, and hometown bragging rights almost from the time GM was founded in Flint, Michigan in 1908, five years after Ford got started in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. Of little significance by themselves, battles like this one can sign inflection points in long-term trends. Over the last century, the two companies have rarely changed position. Ford held the lead until the late 1920s when the Model T ran out of gas, and then fell permanently behind the market-dominating GM machine created by Alfred P. Sloan. In the ensuing decades, Ford enjoyed brief periods of leadership in the late 1980s and again in the 1990s, but GM stayed in front until it began to skid into its 2009 bankruptcy. At the moment, Ford holds a small edge in annual profits $6.6 billion in 2010 to $6.2 billion for GM and a larger one in market cap $55 billion to GM's $50 billion.