In these days of lower budgets, you may have to limit the number of competitors that you track so you need to select the rivals carefully. Recent news brought examples of two classes of competitors to watch: 800 pound gorillas and leading innovators.
Search’s 800 pound gorilla Google announced a PC operating system in a blog on its site July 7, 2009, saying “Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.”
While Google states that Chrome OS is targeted at online users, its future direction is aimed squarely at PC software’s 800 pound gorilla Microsoft: “Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems.”
800 pound gorillas often do not succeed in new areas, but Google is one of the few companies that has the brand and the resources to challenge Microsoft in PC software. Fighting gorillas can cause a lot of collateral damage so any organization in the technology arena should be monitoring this development.
Leading innovators are organizations that change the business model for their industry. Europe’s Ryanair is considering selling standing only tickets on its flights, according the article, “On your feet ... flying at 30,000 feet “by Dan Reed, USA TODAY, July 6, 2009.
Mr. Reed refers to Ryanair as “…arguably the world's most innovative low-cost/low-fare carrier…”
He reports that “Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief, suggests standing passengers could be safely strapped to stools or railings.
“The idea isn't that far-fetched, considering O'Leary's history. Earlier this year, O'Leary said he would like to charge passengers to use his planes' restrooms, and floated the idea of charging overweight travelers more to fly.”
Since US law requires a seat or a berth for all passengers, standing only tickets will not be sold in the US, but the point is to watch what O’Leary suggests and see how other airlines react to his ideas. While Ryanair has not developed all the new revenue generating or money saving ideas in the airline industry, it has created numerous significant ones including selling food on-board, and soon electronic only check-ins at airports.
So think carefully about the real threats in your industry and focus your attention on them.