The 10 Greatest Business Rivalries

Business is a hard world. It’s full of cut-throat ethics, hard decisions and even harder people, but it can also be a very lucrative world, if you're in the right industry that is!

The ideal business operates in a high-demand, low-competition market – but these rarely ever last for long. “Supply-and-demand” means that once a highly-demanded product comes on the market, businesses that can supply those products are quick to pop up. This also generates competition between the businesses as each vies for their target customer base.

In business, competition is healthy, if not always lucrative. It’s not only good for the economy, it’s good for consumers too. Highly-competitive markets means that businesses battle for the people’s buck by lowering their prices, offering good package deals, providing excelling service, etc...

Another bonus in highly competitive markets, is that it makes for some interesting stories! When two rival huge tycoon businesses, selling similar products, come head-to-head the results can be interesting, to say the least!

Let’s take a look at some of the greatest business rivalries that we have seen to date.

10 Reebok vs Nike

The battle between Reebok and Nike has been ongoing for over three decades, and it hasn't always been a pretty sight!

Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, left his accounting career and formed a running shoe company that imported shoes into the U.S. Reebok was originally a British brand called J.W. Foster and Sons that was founded in 1895. In 1958, the two grandsons renamed the company Reebok, a type of African gazelle. In 1979 a sports good distributor, Paul Fireman, discovered the shoe brand in the UK and agreed to sell them in the U.S. Fireman bought out the company in 1984.

One of the most striking differences between the two brands was their clientele. Nike had focused mainly on male consumers, whereas Reebok was marketed to both male and female customers. In 1987, Reebok overtook Nike. Since then the two brands have boosted their sales with high-profile athletes representing their brands. Nike had Michael Jordan, Reebok had Shaquille O’Neal. Since then, Reebok was bought by Adidas, but still remains a distant second place to Nike.

9 DC vs Marvel

Rivalry is probably too strong a word for this duo, whose battles are of the more friendly type. Marvel has even gone as far as calling DC their “Distinguished Competition”. The two graphic novel giants understand that competition is healthy, so their rivalry only helps to spur them on. Marvel tops DC when it comes to movies, whereas DC has stayed very committed to many of their more traditional and well-known characters. Just to clarify for those of you who don't know who does what: Marvel is best known for the Avengers and DC claims the legends that are Batman and Superman.

8 Sony vs Nintendo

This rivalry has been ongoing for 15 years, and although Sony has been busy with Microsoft as of late, Nintendo has been a thorn in Sony’s side for some time! (And if you know any gamers, you'll know that the consumers are equally as passionate about their chosen brand).

Nintendo modestly began its journey in Japan producing playing cards and wasn't considered a gaming company until the 1970's. While sonic and sega provided Nintendo with competition, it wasn't until 1995 when a new company, Sony, introduced the Playstation. With 3D graphics and CD support format, Sony dominated the gaming market. In response, Nintendo launched the N64. However, with three times as many sales, Sony’s CD technology out-did that of the cartridge-based technology supported by Nintendo.

Nowadays, the two gaming companies are competing with each other with their newest models, the Nintendo Wii (& Wii U) and the Sony Playstation 4, with Sony still dominating in sales.

7 Ferrari vs Lamborghini

The legend says that Ferruccio Lamborghini, dissatisfied with Ferrari, founded his own car company in 1967. The two supercar companies have a lot in common to the untrained eye. Their cars of flashy, sporty, luxurious, they're both Italian and their logos have animals on them. However, on closer inspection, the two couldn't be more different. This is a somewhat one sided race, as Ferrari far out-sold Lamborghini in 2010. The forty seven year feud is still on-going, but both companies have conceded that the other creates excellent quality cars.

6 Energizer vs Duracell

These two companies power a lot of your favourite gizmos and gadgets, but what’s the difference between the two? Energizer has been around since the late 1800's, while Duracell arrived on the scene much later in the mid-1960's. The two companies have done some seriously fantastic work advertising their batteries, with both brands using a rabbit as a mascot to sell their product. The battle is ongoing, and there’s even a Facebook page promoting the rivalry!

5 Nickelodeon vs Disney Channel

Unlike their productions, these two companies haven’t always remained PC. Disney is known as the behemoth of media corporations around the world, but one company is giving them a run for their money.

Nickelodeon is a basic cable TV show which dominated the kid and teen audiences for years. In frustration, Disney began to snatch some of Nickelodeon’s executives, including Rich Ross, who now heads the Disney Channel. Disney has recently had some successes with Hannah Montana and High School Musical but Nickelodeon has fought back with Glen Martin DDS and Spectacular. The competition is hot and the two companies are still in the heat of it!

4 Budweiser vs Miller

The beer business is very competitive, but it’s advertising that puts these two on top. Budweiser and Miller were neck and neck in the early 1980's, each of them owning approximately 20% of the beer market. However, Miller began to win the race with the very successful introduction of Miller Lite and its celebrity endorsements of famous baseball players such as Boog Powell, Billy Martin and Marv Throneberry.

The rivalry was so extreme that a rumour circulated stating that Miller’s president, John A. Murphy, had a Budweiser rug under his desk so that he could use it to wipe his feet with.

3 Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs

The two computer giants revolutionised technology as we see it today. While neither Jobs nor Gates have any college education, the two understood computers and business like none other. Initially Gates led the way, ensuring that Windows was the default operating system in most offices and households, while Jobs floundered to try and keep up. By 1997, Apple was facing bankruptcy and accepted a $150 million investment from Gates in order to keep their heads above water. In the last fifteen years of his life, Jobs rocketed Apple into the spotlight and surpassed Gates by creating engaging new technology like smartphones, music players and tablets. While the two were always considered rivals, they were essentially friendly with one another because they really appreciated what the other had accomplished.

2 McDonalds vs Burger King

McDonalds and Burger King have been serious rivals ever since the two companies arrived on the scene mid-20th century. The intense rivalry between the two fast-food giants can be summed up neatly by Ray Kroc, McDonald's Corporation founder: "If they were drowning to death, I'd put the hose in their mouth." From copying each other’s burger selections, to false advertising, the two chains were neck and neck by the end of the 20th century. Unfortunately for Burger King, they fell behind in the early 2000’s when CEOs and owners were changing hands, and the loss of stability rocketed Wendy's into second place.

1 Coke vs Pepsi

The rivalry to end all rivalries, Coke and Pepsi have been at it so long that they've even got a name for their feud: The Coca-Cola Wars. The two soft drink companies have often had the same target audience, making their battle all the more interesting. This being said, Coke has been characterized as a more “family-friendly” brand, dominating the advertisements at Christmas with their Santa Claus. (Fun fact, Santa originally wore purple, but Coke put him in Red as a marketing strategy and that’s the color that stuck around through the years!) Pepsi on the other hand, branded itself towards a younger audience, and labelled itself as the drink for the young. Both companies have grabbed as many celebrities as they could to endorse their beverage, and are the leading brands in utilizing the big screen to sell their products.

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