Business rivalries have changed the business world and their conflicts have shaped business concepts, for as far back as anyone can recall. Some mammoth names in the business world fizzled out in the face of unbeatable competition, while others stood their ground and put up an admirable fight.
Here are some of the biggest business rivalries in the world and how they panned out:
1. Coke and Pepsi
In their mad dash toward first place, Coke and Pepsi made two major errors. One, they got complacent. And two, they lost the plot. Busy outselling each other, both Coke and Pepsi lost the big bucks to Red Bull and are now clawing their way back into the fight with a renewed focus on health drinks and snacks.
2. Nike and Reebok
Nike started out as the leader in sports shoes. But some time in the mid-80s, Reebok ousted Nike from the no. 1 spot. Only when Nike signed the Chicago Bulls rookie, Michael Jordan, and released Air Jordans did it reclaim its spot. Air Jordans still generate over $2 billion per year, while Reebok was acquired by Adidas in 2005.
3. MCI and AT&T
This was a classic case of David versus Goliath. MCI sued AT&T, won $1.6 billion and dismantled the stranglehold AT&T had over telecommunication technology. MCI paved the way for newer service providers to get in the game and challenge the rules, thereby ensuring increasingly reduced prices and better services for consumers. MCI filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and got acquired by Verizon in 2005.
4. Lamborghini and Ferrari
This is a rivalry Mario Puzo would’ve written about, if he were one to write about supercars. They’re both Italian-made, and both ridiculously expensive. In 2010, Ferrari’s net revenue was a whopping $2.7 billion as compared to Lamborghini’s measly $132 million. ‘Nuff said!
5. McDonald’s and Burger King
The burger wars began with the Whopper and the Big Mac. Both companies have been trying to give consumers the best value for money (not to mention cholesterol issues and coronaries!) All the rivals in the food industry wars find themselves stymied by the healthy-eating frenzy that seems to have swept across the world. So now they fight about whose burger is healthier!
6. Ford and GM
These companies have been at war with each other for more than 100 years. Ford was the clear favorite when this war began. Ford’s victory, however, was shortlived. GM outdid Ford for almost 8 decades, but declared bankruptcy in 2011.
7. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
There’s an honest-to-god song about their rivalry — that should tell you just how famous it is. They may not like the products the other one makes, but that hasn’t meant one won’t bail the other out of a bad situation. Jobs once borrowed $150 million from Gates to keep Apple afloat.
8. Energizer and Duracell
Both companies have a supercharged ADHD bunny for a mascot. When you’ve got pink bunnies battling it out, you know it doesn’t get more competitive than that!
9. IBM and HP
HP has been outdoing IBM on the revenue front for the past decade or so, but it isn’t always and only about revenues. IBM has its strong suit in a solid sales strategy while HP is all about aggressive moves.
10. Disney Channel and Nickelodeon
Disney is a behemoth in the world of children’s entertainment. Nickelodeon has got Disney running scared. It’s a battle that continues to rage as one channel keeps trying to outperform the other. Disney has even gone so far as to steal Nickelodeon’s top executives. It isnt for nothing that they say, “Everything’s fair in love and war”.