Andy Grove, a former CEO of Intel, was fond of saying that. Inspite of that Intel missed the whole smart phone wave. It stayed focus on Wintel monopoly where it was able to extract high rents for its chips. ARM emerged as the leader in the space. Intel’s advantages in the Chip Fabrication were rendered useless when ARM started selling IP to be integrated on the chip along wth other functionality. Intel had become fat, dumb and happy charging hundreds of dollars for its processors when the ARM was charging a hundredth of that!

Microsoft under Steve Balmer also missed that wave for the same reasons. It tried to rectify that by buying Nokia. But both Nokia and Blackberry were too slow to respond when Apple took over the market with IPhone.

Microft was almost missing the Cloud Computing wave too under Steve balmer. Amazon came from nowhere and bacame a dominant player in that field. New CEO Satya Nadella acted forcefully in the Cloud Computing space and has almost caught up with Amazon. Incidentally, Intel was also saved by cloud computing as it moved up the performance ladder to supply chips for servers.

Companies with market dominating products often become complacent and are caught flat-footed when the market shifts, as it invetibly does. I can list a large number of players, including Novell, Lotus and Wordperfect who were not able to diversify to save their hide.

In a fast changing technogy world nothing is forever. CEOs have to fund efforts that seem to small at the time to matter but consequences of not doing could be dire.

It is not enough just to say that only paranoid survive, you have to be truly paranoid.

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