The Innovators Dilemma describes a mechanism whereby the business model of incumbent players in a technological field are displaced by players in adjacent areas of business who survive on lower margins. The lower margin businesses expand their product offerings by development into the areas of business held by the higher margin organisations.
Now, that describes a system of enforced instability. Continual churning of the ‘top dog’ as new players ‘arise from below’. That sort of mimics biological life. Constant renewal, opportunities for mutation/change.
Now, lets look at another situation.
Google / Facebook / Twitter.
Where is the churn? What? no churn? Oh wait, where is Altavista, Yahoo. Maybe the timescale is off and we will see these big players supplanted.
But wait, there are examples of churn actively NOT happening. Google+, Bing.
Google+ has all the signs of being a ‘from below’ sort of successor. And Bing, well, lets not talk about Bing.
But this has got me thinking. The Innovators Dilemma is based upon the principle that smaller companies/players can succeed on lower margins where bigger players flounder.
In the case of Google, Facebook and to a degree Twitter, this is not the case. In order to present a competing product to Facebook some smaller company would almost certainly have to create comparable installations while having lower user bases. This means that smaller players cannot exist on the profit margins of the larger incumbents.
This means that in the area of social media/internet applications the ecosystem is one of self balancing stability. The current crop of companies can only be ousted from above.
So, the only competition for Facebook, Google, Twitter is each other. Even then, it is an up hill battle (Google+ anyone?)