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Old tech firms could be poised to make a comeback

February 26, 2018

A new study reveals that many senior executives think large, long-standing tech firms will be the ones that shake up the status quo in the near future.

The old innovators: Researchers at IBM and Oxford Economics surveyed 12,854 C-level executives. Of those, 72 percent saw incumbents as the leading cause of disruption in their industry. Only 22 percent saw startups as a disruption threat.

Slow-mover advantage: “People that go slower and build the culture that is needed can build value,” said one of the authors, Joerg Niessing, in a panel discussion about the study. Incumbents have had longer to devise a culture and collect data—and may soon use it to their advantage.

Data dinosaurs do AI: You might think big tech firms control most of the world’s data. Not true. The study found they own only about 20 percent, while old incumbents, like Bank of America and Unilever, control 80 percent. That could give them a crucial leg up, especially in developing AI.

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