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The history of financial markets suggests that incumbent companies rarely survive technology transitions. Few carriage makers succeeded as car companies, and few canal companies became railway leaders.
As the Innovator’s Dilemma sets out, incumbents are held back by legacy technologies and thinking. By the time they act, it is often too late to catch up with lower cost nimbler insurgents riding new technology learning curves.
The question is whether this framework applies to the oil companies as demand peaks and starts to fall. Can oil companies reinvent themselves in time to avoid obsolescence?
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