Negotiating Tip #58:
Cooperating with Your Competitor
When opportunity knocks, the fiercest rivals may carve out a space where they join forces for their mutual good. Apple and Google, two of the four largest companies in the world, go head-to-head in browsers, smartphones, PC-operating software, voice-activated assistants, app stores, entertainment media.
But the two have worked hand-in-glove in one area: Apple has made Google their default search engine on the iPhone, in return for a multi-billion annual royalty check. When an iPhone user asks Siri to find a Thai restaurant nearby, Siri uses Google search to find a place that just happens to be a Google advertiser – generating ad revenue for Google.
That’s a spectacular example of revenue-sharing symbiosis, otherwise known as co-opetition. Co-opetition can be found in any number of sectors: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile routinely make deals to add capacity on the other organization’s networks; chemical companies will compete ruthlessly in one product space while sourcing particular chemicals from one another; oil producers will lease pipeline space from competitors.