Art by Sam Lessin.
Modest Proposals
Enterprise Google Uber/Lyft

When Tech Companies Enter Zero-Sum Markets

Photo: Art by Sam Lessin.

We are accustomed to talking about technology companies as having infinite or near-infinite addressable markets. Productivity is almost by definition an infinite market; people have an uncapped appetite to do more with less. Communication is largely the same story; there is no clear end to how much people want to talk.

Technology companies often fiercely compete inside the technology industry. But in infinite markets with open-ended growth potential, these technology companies have generally been non-zero-sum with the outside world. Companies like Yahoo, Google, Twitter, Aol and Facebook have, with an occasional exception, grown without dramatically taking away from other legacy businesses. In many cases productivity and communication technologies have grown the pie for everyone.

But those times are changing and increasingly the most interesting technology companies are competing in finite markets against legacy companies. Technology companies are entering zero-sum spaces.

And that change is leading to a big change in sentiment around them.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Weekend
Can Livestream Shopping Cure the Holiday Gifting Blues?
Images of live-shopping app NTWRK. Illustration by Mike Sullivan. Photo courtesy of NTWRK.
Hi, welcome to the Weekend.It might seem against the holiday spirit to say so, but does anyone really love gift-shopping these days? Even pre-pandemic, it was a stress-inducing affair, loaded with decision fatigue, toy-of-the-year FOMO and ghosts of bad presents past.Into this consumerist minefield has stumbled a strange new entrant: livestream shopping. In this week’s issue, writer Janet...
Latest Briefs
 
Disney+ in Hong Kong Drops Simpon’s Tiananmen Square Episode
Tech Stocks Fall as New Covid Variant Leads to Market Sell-Off
Quarterly Results From Meituan and Pinduoduo Highlight Challenges for China Tech
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Gift Hunting E-commerce
The Information’s Top Tech-Adjacent Gifts for 2021
This year, there is no shortage of material—and immaterial—ways to show people you care.
Clockwise from left: Victoria Beasley of Prelude Ventures, Amy Francetic of Buoyant Ventures, Joshua Posamentier of Congruent Ventures, Ben Kortlang of G2VP and Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Venture Capital Startups
Five Climate Tech Investors to Watch
These are busy times for the venture capital investors backing startups tackling a range of tough-to-crack climate problems, from global warming to a shortage of clean water.
FTC Chair Lina Khan. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive
FTC Privacy Probe of Amazon Ring Puts Khan’s Agenda in the Spotlight
Federal Trade Commission staffers earlier this year recommended filing a lawsuit against Amazon over alleged privacy and data security breaches within Amazon’s Ring home security business, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.
Dan Morehead, founder and chief executive officer of Pantera Capital, in Beverly Hills, Calif., in October. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Crypto Venture Capital
More Institutional Investors Embrace Crypto VCs as Pantera Capital Raises $600 Million
Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and other institutional sources of capital used to shy away from cryptocurrencies over concerns about their use in illicit activity.
Illustration by Jesus Escudero.
Market Research Media/Telecom Startups
Livestream Shopping Is a Messy, Maddening Experience (for Now)
Holiday gift buying is hell. It always has been, and likely always will be, an anxiety-fueled decision tree that no machine-learning algorithm can solve.
Amazon’s Growing Influencer Ambitions; An Instagram Thread Trend
Creator Economy
Amazon’s Growing Influencer Ambitions; An Instagram Thread Trend
Amazon has emerged as a key player in the creator economy, from its gaming live-streaming service Twitch to the Clubhouse competitor it is reportedly working on.