Competitive relationships between companies are generally taken for granted. Competition is widely regarded as the beneficial bedrock of efficient markets, and it fits squarely into our general understanding of metaphors for business such as sports or military conflict.
Still, it’s not hard to see how companies can benefit each other, intentionally or otherwise. The complementary nature of two or more companies is sometimes referred to as “co-opetition,” following the name of a book of that title by Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff. The following examples illustrate some forms the benefits of co-opetition can take:
1. Providing a benefit to your customers that you don’t offer. A streaming service such as NetFlix could add value to Apple TV, complementing the download-only focus of iTunes.
2. Helping drive demand for your product or service. In the example of Apple TV and NetFlix above, NetFlix also benefits, since the relationship may encourage Apple TV users to become NetFlix subscribers.
3. Integrating with products or services your customers already use. Makers of enterprise software commonly include hooks to social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart
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