News Stories · Disruption - Digital

Are the world's biggest tech companies at risk of disruption?

Some of the most powerful technology companies in the world could soon be challenged by fresh-faced rivals - but change won’t come overnight
November 2019

As recently as 2007, the list of the world’s most valuable companies was dominated by one industry – oil.

Fast forward to 2017, and this list had been completely transformed by technology companies. Tencent, Alibaba, Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple had all joined Microsoft on the list of the top 10 wealthiest companies on the planet.

These companies are all, of course, famously known as “disruptors”. But what else do their business models have in common, asked Goutam Challagalla, Professor of Strategy and Marketing at IMD, on day one of Orchestrating Winning Performance in Dubai.

They are also – crucially – all platform businesses, Professor Challagalla explained. They make money by connecting two parties together, with Apple’s business model of connecting us to app developers being perhaps the most famous, not to mention lucrative, example.

Uber, Airbnb and Booking.com are just some of the companies that have also used this model to dominate both the industries in which they operate and the everyday lives of people all over the world.

Ripe for disruption?

But change could be on the horizon, Professor Challagalla said. Could the likes of Uber and Airbnb, huge disruptors of traditional industries, themselves be ripe for disruption?

Take ride-hailing apps, for example. In 2012, their presence in the US was minimal; just 1% of rides taken was with ride-hailing companies. By 2018, that number had grown to 88% – a phenomenal level of growth.

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