Top 11 companies that are struggling with disruptive change (2023)

There is a huge difference between competing in a market and disrupting a market. When competing, a company tries to make a similar product in a given market segment, then competes against incumbent products on price or features to gain share and hopefully profits. When disrupting, a company produces a whole new product that creates or changes a market, then dominates share and profits in that segment.

Why do so many established and often well managed companies struggle with disruptive innovation? Many times it is simply because companies have been doing the same things, in the same ways, and for the same reasons for so long, that they struggle with the concept of change.

IBM in the mid 1980’s felt that the future would be much like the past and a result didn’t have to change much. They did not realize how much microcomputers would replace the functions of their bread-and-butter business, the mainframe. The net result was tens of thousands of people were laid off, with the company suffering the first losses in its history.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #1 – RIM

The BlackBerry smartphone maker (RIM) is in deep trouble – but Apple was once in even worse trouble with even less time to fix it. Steve Jobs did bring Apple back from the edge of bankruptcy and today it is one of the most valuable companies in the world, but the speed of innovation is ever-faster. A company that’s fallen behind might never catch up. Will RIM (Blackbarry) catch up?

The company had been steadily selling phones up until late 2010 or early 2011, until its shipments began dropping steeply.

(Video) 10 Business that FAILED to Adapt to Change

The sad fact is that all of this could have been avoided. The company was slow to act in the wake of Apple’s smartphone bombshell back in 2007, believing that consumers would always want a hardware keyboard.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #2 – Nokia

RIM it’s not the only company in trouble – Nokia is seeing similar drops in shipments.

Nokia phones were once a consumer favorite, but no longer. Other devices, including the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, among many others, have captured consumers’ imagination. Consumers stuck around in support of Nokia for a while, but after they realized that the company wasn’t reacting very adroitly, they left, and they might not come back.

There was a time when they could count on the company to deliver the latest and greatest platform on the market. But over the last several years, it has been slow to react, and when it did offer products, they failed to appeal to the new customer. Now,consumers don’t know if they can trust Nokia’s claims that it will change all that in the coming years. That alone will be a difficult issue for Nokia to overcome.

There are many unflattering comparisons to make regarding Nokia’s current market capitalization. The struggling handset maker’s market cap is now lower than the $8.5 billion Microsoft Corp. paid for IP-telephony company Skype Ltd. last year. Nokia is valued at roughly seven times what Facebook paid for Instagram, and slightly more than half of Apple Inc.’s latest quarterly net profit.

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Strugglingwith disruptive change #3 – Microsoft

Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry – indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen flat in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc.

The story of Microsoft’s lost decade could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success. For what began as a lean competition machine led by young visionaries of unparalleled talent has mutated into something bloated and bureaucracy-laden, with an internal culture that unintentionally rewards managers who strangle innovative ideas that might threaten the established order of things.

They used to point their finger at IBM and laugh – Now they’ve become the thing they despised – Bill Hill, a former Microsoft manager

Microsoft have now announced the Surface tablet. It seems nice. But in making the Surface, Microsoft played it safe and chose to compete, not disrupt.

The Microsoft iPad competes with ultra-thin notebooks and full blown PCs with a traditional keyboard and desktop OS, it competes against the Apple iPad, Android tablets, Amazon’s Kindles etc.

In choosing to compete, Microsoft blew it’s chance to create a stand-out tablet device that could challenge the iPad. And it’s a little too late.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #4 – Barnes & Noble

Brick-and-mortar book stores are in serious trouble. Products like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s own Nook, Apple’s iPad and smartphones can display e-books downloaded online. Once readers have more time to adjust to these technologies, brick-and-mortar book stores will likely see their profits decline even further.

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When it no longer makes sense to run a chain of physical book stores, Barnes & Noble will likely be left with its Nook business and online book sales. Unfortunately for Barnes & Noble, the Nook may not be enough to keep the company afloat, but could be an attractive asset for large technology companies to purchase.

Will Barnes & Noble be the next Borders?

Strugglingwith disruptive change #5 – B&O

While the Danish company pursued its own cult of design, others like Apple formulated a new aesthetic that took into account the graphical user interface and Moore’s law. As the iPod and iTunes took off, conversation-piece home-entertainment objects seemed less and less relevant. It turned out that the sound system of tomorrow wasn’t an elegant $5,000 device that gave you instant access to six CDs; it was a $400 gadget that allowed you to slip thousands of songs into your hip pocket.

In the midst of this consumer electronics upheaval, Bang & Olufsen remained adamantly, diligently, and somewhat endearingly committed to following its own path.

But in 2008, the global financial crisis confronted B&O with perhaps its gravest existential threat since Nazi sympathizers blew up its factory in 1945. Between 2008 and 2009, annual revenue plunged from $853 million to $528 million, and its stock price plummeted from $52 to $8.50. The manufacturer could no longer ignore the urgent realities of the present. It was forced to shed product lines, shuffle CEOs, and lay off hundreds of workers.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #6 – Kodak

In the 20th century, Kodak was truly one of the world’s powerhouses. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands. Kodak is Bankrupt

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Digital photography took off and Kodak wasn’t ready for it. Was Kodak blind to disruptive changes in the marketplace? And why didn’t Kodak invent Instagram, or an app like it?

Strugglingwith disruptive change #7 – Blockbuster

In Blockbuster’s case, it wasstreaming service and mail-order movie service that possessed the foresight that Blockbuster lacked. And while its competitors steadily gained market share through novel and innovative approaches, Blockbuster remained defiantly steadfast in its profound reliance on a brick-and-mortar business.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #8 – Cisco

Cisco spent $590 million in 2009 to buy into the camera business – they bought Flip,the maker of the popular Flip Video camcorders, from Pure Digital. Two years later Cisco had to shut down the business unit.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #9 – Hewlett-Packard and Dell

Once synonymous with PCs, Hewlett Packard and Dell are now struggling to keep up with the software-driven shift to integrated, differentiated systems.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #10 – Neckermann

With a string of high-profile bankruptcies and thousands of layoffs, the German retail sector is in upheaval as it struggles with the challenges of changing customer trends and online shopping. Now, the iconic mail-order chain Neckermann, with more than 2,500 employees, filed for insolvency.

Strugglingwith disruptive change #11 – Schlecker

Germany’s biggest drugstore chain (high-street chemist) – Schlecker – has filed for bankruptcy. A company with seven thousand shops and thirty thousand employees.

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Disruptive Change


What are the biggest companies that have failed? ›

  • Blockbuster.
  • Enron.
  • Blackberry.
  • Kodak.
  • Pan-Am.
  • MySpace.
  • Yahoo.
  • Polaroid.

What is an example of disruptive change? ›

Disruptive change can eliminate the need for one market and create completely new markets, such as the rise of the internet making blogs profitable while decreasing newspaper sales.

What are the most disruptive companies? ›

In this article, we take a look at the 22 most disruptive companies in 2022.
Let's dive in.
  • Tala. Funding: $362. ...
  • Fanatics. Funding: $4.2 billion. ...
  • Monarch Tractor. Funding: $81 million. ...
  • Maven Clinic. ...
  • CloudTrucks. ...
  • Arctic Wolf. ...
  • Truepill. ...
  • Medable.
Dec 12, 2022

What company went through a major scandal? ›

Enron Scandal (2001)

In one of the most controversial accounting scandals in the past decade, it was discovered in 2001 that the company had been using accounting loopholes to hide billions of dollars of bad debt, while simultaneously inflating the company's earnings.

What companies almost failed? ›

Successful Companies That Were Almost Failed Startups
  • Reddit. Entertainment, social networking, and news website Reddit have 430 million unique users. ...
  • The Muse. ...
  • Airbnb. ...
  • Instacart. ...
  • GoDaddy. ...
  • Marie Forleo. ...
  • Uber.
Jul 1, 2022

What was the biggest company collapse? ›

The deal failed, and on December 2, 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Enron's $63.4 billion in assets made it the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history until the WorldCom scandal the following year.

Which company is considered to be too big to fail? ›

Examples of 'Too Big to Fail' Companies

The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Citigroup Inc. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

What is an example of a disruptive company? ›

Netflix. Netflix is a textbook example of successful disruptive innovation strategy. Starting out as a company supplying DVD mailouts, Netflix offered a cost-effective and convenient product to an area of the market that was previously overlooked.

What is an example of disruptive change in business? ›

New-market disruption occurs when a company creates a new segment in an existing market to reach unserved or underserved customers; for example, creating a cheap version of an expensive product to cater to less wealthy consumers.

How is Amazon disruptive? ›

Amazon is seen as so disruptive because people think they're getting something for free. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon is seen as one of the world's most disruptive companies because people love it so much they forget they've even paid for some of its services.

What are some brands that no longer exist? ›

9 Iconic American Brands That No Longer Exist
  • Borders. 1/10. Once a behemoth book retailer, Borders wasn't able to adapt quickly enough to the technological changes of the 2000s. ...
  • Pan American. 2/10. ...
  • F.W. Woolworth. 3/10. ...
  • Toys R Us. 4/10. ...
  • Blockbuster. 5/10. ...
  • Tower Records. 6/10. ...
  • Compaq. 7/10. ...
  • Oldsmobile. 8/10.

What brands are killing it right now? ›

5 brands that are killing it on social media in 2022
  • GoPro. GoPro have successfully built an online community of 19 million simply by letting their customers tell their brand story. ...
  • Specsavers. ...
  • Marks & Spencer. ...
  • Aldi. ...
  • Norman's Café, London.
Apr 27, 2022

Why do some of the most successful companies no longer exist? ›

Poor Financial Management

Having complete visibility and a deep understanding of an organisation's finances and responding to constant change is critical. Poor financial management is why many big businesses fail.

What is the biggest challenge companies are facing today? ›

Here are the seven greatest challenges every company should be ready for in 2023:
  1. Inflation and Economic Downturn. ...
  2. Supply Chain Security. ...
  3. Increasing Customer Expectations. ...
  4. Accelerated Digital Transformation. ...
  5. The War for Talent Will Intensify. ...
  6. Data and Device Security. ...
  7. Sustainability.
Nov 15, 2022

What are disruptor companies? ›

Definition. If a company is considered a disruptor or as being disruptive, it has found an innovative way of doing business in an existing sector or is creating a new market and in the process, is shaking up the status quo.

What companies disrupted the market? ›

These are the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies
1RobinhoodWall Street's frenemy
3DiscordThe Internet chat room, re-imagined
4SentinelOneA SolarWinds saving grace
5Didi ChuxingYour $100 billion IPO is on the way
6BrexGiving credit to the start-up economy
45 more rows
May 25, 2021

What company has unethical behavior? ›

The most unethical clothing companies are mainly popular multinational and e-commerce brands like Victoria's Secret, GAP, Fashion Nova, Uniqlo, Forever 21, Nike, Adidas, Disney, H&M that have been exposed to multiple unethical practices – including labor exploitation and/ or forced labor. What is this?

What companies have had cash flow problems? ›

That includes large corporations like Nike and The Home Depot—two of the most famous examples of businesses that were nearly brought down by cash flow problems at pivotal growth moments—as well as mid-sized organizations and small businesses. The reasons for these problems are as varied as the businesses they impact.

What businesses have had ethical issues? ›

What are Examples of Business Scandals?
  • United Airlines. It's hard to forget the scandal United Airlines faced after security officers forcefully dragged a passenger off an overbooked flight. ...
  • Equifax. Equifax faced a large ethical scandal when hackers stole data from more than 148 million consumers. ...
  • Enron. ...
  • Google.
Mar 2, 2021

What businesses are declining? ›

Fastest Declining Industries in the US in 2023
  • Tank & Armored Vehicle Manufacturing in the US. 2023-2024 Revenue Growth: -49.1% ...
  • Lighting & Bulb Manufacturing in the US. 2023-2024 Revenue Growth: -28.3% ...
  • Iron & Steel Manufacturing in the US.

What US companies failed internationally? ›

Here are some examples of companies that failed internationally due to a lack of social understanding and an in-depth breakdown of what really went wrong.
  • Walmart in Japan and Their Failure to Differentiate. ...
  • Home Depot in China and the DIY Attitude. ...
  • Starbucks in the Land Down Under and the Importance of Originality.

What of all new businesses fail within five years? ›

Data from the BLS shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.

What companies grow in the recession? ›

Different types of businesses that thrive during a Recession
  • Childcare. Daycare will always be in demand as long as parents need someone to care for their children while they work. ...
  • Repair Services. ...
  • Funeral Homes. ...
  • Trash Haulers. ...
  • Cigarettes and Alcohol.
Nov 12, 2022

What companies were too big to fail in 2008? ›

Banks That Became Too Big to Fail

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase were also headlining as they were experiencing losses from the collapsing securities values.

What companies did well in the last recession? ›

In fact, many companies fared very well during the 2008 Recession, which rattled the global economy.
Debt management and collection
  • Dollar Tree (discount stores)
  • Walmart (discount stores)
  • Hasbro (leisure and kids products)
  • Amgen (health)
  • Edwards Lifesciences (health)
  • H&R Block (personal services)
Jul 15, 2022

Which companies failed but then succeeded? ›

  • Pan Am (1927 – 1991) Pan American World Airways (aka Pan Am), founded in 1927, was the largest international air carrier in the United States. ...
  • Borders (1971 – 2011) ...
  • Pets[dot]com (1998 – 2000) ...
  • Tower Records (1960 – 2004) ...
  • Compaq (1982 – 2002) ...
  • General Motors (1908 – 2009) ...
  • Kodak (1889-2012)'

What are the Top 5 reasons businesses fail? ›

Five Common Causes of Business Failure
  • Poor cash flow management. ...
  • Losing control of the finances. ...
  • Bad planning and a lack of strategy. ...
  • Weak leadership. ...
  • Overdependence on a few big customers.

Did anyone from Lehman Brothers go to jail? ›

On the tenth anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the media is full of articles questioning why nobody went to jail for the Great Financial Crisis that followed. Take, for instance, A crisis nobody went to jail for.

Is Netflix a disruptive? ›

Credit where due, Netflix was absolutely a disruptive force in the 100+ year old industry, transforming the market with its innovative business model, to which media incumbents initially struggled to respond.

Which is the best example of disruptive innovation? ›

Amazon, launched as an online bookstore in the mid-1990s, is an example of disruptive innovation. Disruptive innovation requires enabling technology, an innovative business model, and a coherent value network. Sustaining innovation is the process of innovating to improving products and services for existing customers.

What is a disruptive workplace? ›

Disruptive behavior in the workplace is behavior that prohibits others in the workplace from functioning normally. It can take many different forms, and every situation is unique. It is important to identify disruptive behavior as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening or becoming a more serious concern.

Which industries are particularly impacted by disruption and change? ›

To this end, acknowledging the risks and possibilities that digital innovations can bring in the different industries is crucial. Some of the most vulnerable to digital disruption fields include critical infrastructure and manufacturing, healthcare, law enforcement and security, cybersecurity, and fintech.

Which is an example of a highly disruptive but successful business model? ›

The business model of Netflix is a great example of disruptive innovation. Netflix introduced its monthly DVD subscription service in 1997. For the low price of $8.99/month, Netflix customers could rent an unlimited number of DVDs.

Is Tesla a disruptive business model? ›

Larger scale businesses generally adhere to the philosophy that growth management requires a view to past and current trends before anticipating future progression. Tesla, best known for being an all-electric car company, has disrupted a legacy industry with a new business model and consumer approach.

Why is Netflix disruptive innovation? ›

The formation of video as digital content and its delivery over the internet has become a radical innovation, as it destroyed the demand for video rental and DVD mailing services. It has become a disruptive innovation due to the disappearance of incumbents and the rise of a late entrant–Netflix.

Why is Airbnb a disruptive innovation? ›

Hence, the flexibility and reach of Airbnb are additional reasons to consider it as a disruptive innovation platform. In general, there are many regulatory hurdles and huge upfront costs in building new hotel properties. However, Airbnb does not need to build a new property to provide accommodations at a new location.

Which industries did Amazon disrupt? ›

To wit: Amazon has already disrupted businesses ranging from books, music, toys and sports to shoes and clothing. It also dominates the cloud-computing business, its biggest profit center.

Which brands burn their unsold products? ›

Louis Vuitton, Coach, Michael Kors, and Juicy Couture have also been tied to this practice. Burning stock is said to be the most cost-effective way for luxury brands to protect exclusivity and avoid devaluing their image.

Which famous company destroys its unsold products? ›

In fact, Amazon also had to face the backlash in Germany for the tons of returned items destroyed by it that including mattresses, washing machines, cellphones, etc.

What personal brands should avoid? ›

Here are eight common personal branding mistakes you might be making on your path to building a dedicated audience:
  • Being unsure of your purpose.
  • Underestimating the commitment involved.
  • Trying to be someone you're not.
  • Not creating your own content.
  • Focusing on yourself too much.
  • Not networking.
Nov 3, 2022

What is the most popular brand right now? ›

The top 15 most popular luxury brands online
4Louis VuittonFashion
11 more rows
Jan 2, 2023

What companies failed due to poor strategy? ›

Tie Rack, Segway, IBM, Blackberry Motion, Dell, Motorola, Polaroid, Pan Am, Borders, Tower Records, Compaq, General Motors,, and Sears are names of the other companies that failed to rise again in the market due to bad business strategies.

What are the top 10 reasons businesses fail? ›

Let's explore the top 10 reasons why businesses fail – plus one important bonus tip.
  • Complacency. ...
  • Not prioritizing sustainability. ...
  • Not putting customers first. ...
  • Not relentlessly innovating. ...
  • Not thinking of themselves as tech companies. ...
  • Not treating data as a key business asset. ...
  • Failing to attract and keep talent.
Aug 29, 2022

What was the biggest company downfall? ›

The Bottom Line. At the time, Enron's collapse was the biggest corporate bankruptcy to ever hit the financial world (since then, it has been surpassed by the bankruptcies31 of other former giants, including Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, WorldCom, and General Motors).

What is the biggest company loss in history? ›

Largest corporate annual losses of all time
#CompanyReport date
1AOL Time Warner31 December 2002

What is the biggest mistake small businesses make? ›

One of the biggest common mistakes new business owners make is losing focus. Whether it's getting comfortable and coasting or losing interest in their company, it's critical for you to focus on running your small business to help it grow and succeed. A good way to keep you focused is to set goals for your startup.

What company had cash flow problems? ›

That includes large corporations like Nike and The Home Depot—two of the most famous examples of businesses that were nearly brought down by cash flow problems at pivotal growth moments—as well as mid-sized organizations and small businesses. The reasons for these problems are as varied as the businesses they impact.

Which company made the most profit? ›

#1 Apple Inc. ( AAPL)
  • Net Income (TTM): $99.8 billion.
  • Revenue (TTM): $394.33 billion.
  • Market Cap: $2.08 trillion.
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -23.64%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ.

Which company has the most profit? ›

In 2022, the Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco posted the highest net revenue of any company in the world, with profits of over 300 billion U.S. dollars. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Equinor rounded out the top five spots in the ranking of most profitable companies. What is net income?

What is the biggest company in the world ever? ›

10 Biggest Companies in the World
  • #1 Walmart Inc. (WMT)
  • #2 China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP)
  • #3 Inc. (AMZN)
  • #4 PetroChina Co. Ltd. (PTR)
  • #5 Apple Inc. (AAPL)
  • #6 CVS Health Corp. (CVS)
  • #7 Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A)
  • #8 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A)

What are 3 companies that have went global? ›

8 Companies That Have Gone Global Successfully
  • Dell Technologies. ...
  • Walmart. ...
  • Whole Foods Market. ...
  • Koch Industries. ...
  • Ford. ...
  • Patagonia. ...
  • Aldi. ...
  • Berkshire Hathaway.
Sep 14, 2022

Which company failed in China? ›

China's been something of a graveyard for American companies. Its victims include Amazon, eBay, and Uber.

Are any U.S. companies leaving China? ›

Both Yahoo and LinkedIn announced their withdrawals in 2021, while being pretty clear about why they made the decision. Yahoo cited its commitment to a “free and open” internet, while LinkedIn says its decision was due to a “considerably more difficult operating environment and higher regulatory requirements.” ...


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