Less Competition? Less CI?Posted: September 29, 2016
September 27, 2016
In a previous blog, I questioned whether what some are calling a notable decline in competition in many US industries has impacted competitive intelligence. I think it may have. Recently, The Economist magazine presented some additional indications that this decline in competition is widespread, has numerous causes, and a variety of impacts:
- In one column, the author looks at several papers dealing with concentrated ownership of US public companies. The author indicates that these papers reach some curious (my word) conclusions:
- “From [the perspective of big asset managers that take large stakes in nearly all of the dominant firms in an industry], the best way to generate portfolio returns might be for rivals to treat each other with kid gloves.”
- “[Institutional] fund-appointed board members could simply refrain from urging conservative CEOs to compete aggressively, or CEOs might anyway conclude that their big shareholders would prefer peace and profits.”
- In a special report in the same issue, Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal is quoted as saying “Competition is for losers”, evidently referring to the giant firms in Silicon Valley.
- In the same piece, a side bar notes, sadly, that, “American business history has been defined by periods of intense competition followed by long periods of consolidation. This digital revolution is likely to repeat that pattern, but on a global scale”, riffing on a quote that after the Civil War, American business was “‘ten years of competition and 90 years of oligopoly”. 
Does all of this now, or will all of this soon, impact CI? I think so. Do you?