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9 Famous Rivalries in Corporate History

Neha B Deshpande
Corporate rivalries have been known through ages, with companies always trying to advertise how their product is better than the other. This story gives a list of 9 of the biggest business rivalries ever.

Did You know?

One of Apple's co-founder, Ron Wayne, left after 12 days, after the company's incorporation, and sold his stake for only $800. However, he still claims that he took a rational decision, what seemed right during that time, since he was older than the other two younger co-founders, and was unwilling to take risks.
When it comes to competition, no one wants to lose, especially if they are well-known, big brands. Throughout corporate history, there have been many instances of people who have gone to unbelievable heights just to ensure that they maintain their popularity. Some have also engaged in insider trading and unethical practices to leak business secrets.
Others have remained friendly, while quite a few have been quite vocal about their bitterness. Some of them have continued to coexist at par, while others have gone downhill, succumbing to competition.
As consumers, even we have a hard time trying to choose which is the better among two good options. Check out these big-time rivalries, which doesn't seem to be getting any less in the foreseeable future.

Greatest Business Rivalries of All Time

Coke Vs. Pepsi

Coke and Pepsi are the two biggest rivals in soft drink industry, and their history is known to the entire world. These two brands are equally known in all the parts of the world, and have been constantly waging a war against each other. Of course, these days, there are many health conscious people who have turned away from soft drinks, yet, both brands continue to win. They've roped in celebrities, and tried all possible ways to increase their sales.
The Coca-Cola Company

Founded: 1892
Headquarters: Atlanta, United States
It was founded by Asa Griggs Candler in 1892, and has over 500 non-alcoholic beverages to its credit, the biggest brand being the 'Coca-Cola' soft-drink, with its main rival being the 'Pepsi' brand.
Other popular brands include Fanta and Sprite. Other than that, it also sells drinking water and juices.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 7.1 b
PepsiCo Inc.

Founded: 1898
Headquarters: New York, United States
It was founded by Donald M. Kendall and Herman Lay. PepsiCo was born out of the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay in 1965. Pepsi-Cola was founded in 1898, with the first cola formulated in the year 1898. Frito-Lay was found in 1961.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 6.5 b

Nike Vs. Reebok

The brands of Nike and Reebok are on the tips of the tongues of everyone, from kids to grown-ups. While the choice depends on a person's liking, this has been an epic case of corporate war over the years.
Nike, Inc.

Founded: 1964
Headquarters: Beaverton, United States
Phil Knight originally formed 'Blue Ribbon Sports' in 1962, as an importer of Japanese running shoes. In 1964, William Bowerman joined as a partner. In 1978, the company was renamed as Nike, Inc. Since then, there has been no looking back.
The company is one of the leading manufacturers of sports products for athletes as well as the commoners. It has retail outlets in more than 150 countries all over the world. Till today, the company has stood the test of time, and has become one of the biggest names in the world of sports products.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 2.7 b
Reebok International Ltd.

Founded: 1895
Headquarters: Massachusetts, United States
It is a leading manufacturer of sports and fitness products. Its history can be traced back to the 1890s, when Joseph William Foster, a shoemaker, made shoes with spiked soles.
However, during the 20th century, the company expanded its business, not limiting itself to the sale of shoes, and also ventured into apparels and other products. Reebok has been taken over by Adidas.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: NA

Ford Vs. GM

The main brands for reliable as well as luxurious cars, these two have certainly been at war since ages. The 'Auto Industry Bailout' was when the US government, in 2009, helped leading automobile companies like GM and Chrysler. Ford did not apply for the bailout, though the other two companies did. 
Of course, a comparison between them will differ according to consumers' and the investors' perspective respectively. However, one can be sure both these companies hold a good future.
Ford Motor Company

Founded: 1903
Headquarters: Dearborn, United States
Ford Motor Company, a leading manufacturer of automobiles, was formed by Henry Ford on June 16, 1903, and has its market extending from America and Europe to Asia.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 3.2 b
General Motors

Founded: 1908
Headquarters: Detroit, United States
It was founded by William C. Durant and Charles Stewart Mott, and is a leading manufacturer of cars and trucks, and also provides financial services.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 3.9 b

McDonald's Vs. Burger King

These two are certainly bitter rivals. However, McDonald's has a bigger market share and is spread in many more countries, in comparison.

Founded: 1940
Headquarters: Des Plaines, United States
This super-successful fast-food company has its branches in over 100 countries today. It was founded in 1940 by Maurice McDonald, Richard McDonald, and Ray Kroc. It is well-known for its hamburgers and cheeseburgers, sandwiches, wraps, etc.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 4.8 b
Burger King

Founded: 1953
Headquarters: Florida, United States
It is one of the leading makers of hamburgers, and was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, by David Edgerton and James McLamore; a concept to similar of McDonald's. It was taken over by 3G Capital, which made it a privately held company.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: NA

Microsoft Vs. Apple

Now who does not know about this war? The epic saga of Microsoft and Apple is known to all. After all, it's Steve Jobs Vs. Bill Gates in this case. Though considered bitter rivals by the world, they were actually very friendly and cordial towards each other. Both companies have been extremely successful in their own ways.
Microsoft Corporation

Founded: 1975
Headquarters: Redmond, United States
It was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, and is a leading manufacturer of computer software, electronic devices, and personal computers and services.
'Windows', 'Office', and 'Xbox' are its most successful products. Its rapid success rate was the reason of envy for many of its competitors.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: 22.1 b
Apple Inc.

Founded: 1976
Headquarters: Cupertino, United States
It was formed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976.
It is involved in the designing and manufacturing of communication devices, personal computers, and other electronic devices. Its best known products are the 'Macintosh', iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 39.5 b

Adidas Vs. Puma

Best known for their sibling rivalry, these two companies are well-known premium brands in sportswear.
Adidas AG

Founded: 1949
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany
This German-based company was founded by Adolf Dassler in 1949, and is well-known for sports shoes, apparels, and other accessories. It is also the holding company of Reebok.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 608.7 m
Puma SE

Founded: 1948
Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany
The company is Germany-based, and was founded by Rudolf Dassler in 1948, and is a leading manufacturer of sports and lifestyle products. It is known for its brands such as PUMA, Tretorn, and Cobra Golf.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 70 m

MasterCard Vs. Visa

It's really difficult to judge who is better than the other in this case. We can say that both are the winners here.

Founded: 1966
Headquarters: New York, United States
The company was founded as a technology company, and undertakes payment-processing, enabling consumers to make electronic payments, acting as a middle-man in transactions. Its products are MasterCard, Maestro, and Cirrus.
Net Income for Financial Year 2014: USD 3.6 b
Visa Inc.

Founded: 1958
Headquarters: Foster City, United States
The company was incorporated on May 25, 2007, and akin to its rival, is a payment-processing company, and operates in more than 200 countries and territories.
Net Income for Financial Year 2014: USD 5.4 b

Canon Vs. Nikon

The lovers of DSLR cameras have a tough question to answer here. Both these companies have equally impressive sales, making it impossible to determine which is better of the two.
Canon Inc.

Founded: 1937
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
The company was founded by Fujio Mitarai, and is based in Tokyo, Japan. Canon is engaged in the manufacture of printers, cameras, copying machines, etc.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 2.1 b
Nikon Corporation

Founded: 1917
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
The company is mainly engaged in the sales of optical instruments: precision equipment, imaging products, etc. It was founded in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan.
Net Income of Financial Year 2014: USD 148 m

DC Vs. Marvel

Both these have created very popular characters in the world of superheroes. Also, there was a comic series published by both these companies, which was named 'DC vs. Marvel', that displayed an open combat between the superheroes of both comics.
DC Comics, Inc.

Founded: 1934
Headquarters: Burbank, United States
The company was formed by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson in 1939, and the name has taken inspiration from the 'Detective Comic Series'. It is a subsidiary company of Time Warner. DC has given birth to some of out favorite heroes like Batman and Superman.
Marvel Entertainment, LLC

Founded: 1939
Headquarters: New York, United States
It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of 'The Walt Disney', and the publisher of 'Marvel Comics'. The original company was started by Martin Goodman in 1939, and was later merged with Toy Biz, Inc. Superheroes like X-Men, Thor, Captain America, etc., belong to Marvel.
Note: Company income figures are approximate, and only given here to portray/compare the market share/rivalry factor.
Healthy business rivalry boosts competition, and certainly benefits the consumers. On the other hand, unethical practices to ward off competition hampers the growth of the industry and is bad for everyone in the long run. There are many other brand rivalries which go a long way back, and if you feel any of them is worth a mention, feel free to share your thoughts with everyone here, through the comments section below.