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While Clayton Christensen's" Innovators Dilemma "taught us that leaders will struggle to retain their leadership position in dynamic industries, others like Ron Adner has reminded us that it is rarely the innovator who ends up capturing most of the long-term value – examples of technology abound from Xerox Labs and the graphical user interface of Sony and the MP3 player (both examples are later redefined by Apple .]
Sometimes a handful of new players emerge that really break into dominance ̵[ads1]1; Amazon Web Services is an obvious example of the IT infrastructure area – but the vast majority end up failing (think how many more public cloud players existed only a few years ago.) As the analyst firm Monkchips has shown with its " VMware pattern " theory, it is mostly because it is very difficult to mature as a company to take your innovative technolo from the beginning to the wider adoption of the business.
Polarizing the World of Kubernetes
The cloud-native ecosystem emerged with open sourcing of Kubernetes in 2014, and since then we have seen an explosion of new companies and new open source projects. Sometimes intimidating for its busy graphic design, the fragmented CNCF landscape mostly showed us a promise of a community of small, innovative likes. The last two years have been remarkable for consolidating power in this ecosystem, no doubt the current and future battlefield of IT, which I wrote in a previous post .
While consolidation often happens and the "VMware pattern" holds, it is not often we see companies dismissed as "has-beens" by analysts return to true dominance in a whole new field. After all, HP's and Dell's server companies have been hit hard by Cloud and haven't bounced back; Oracle has tried to adapt to the brave new world of open source and portable software; and Microsoft has given up plans for mobile a long time ago (although blooming as a cloud and open source mammoth has been fantastic to look at.)
It's not often we see companies dismissed as "has-beens" by analysts return to true dominance in a whole new field
In the blue corner, if you will, with IBM's acquisition of Red Hat and its strategic contribution to the cloud-native ecosystem, it has recently been positioned at this time as a strong leader with a wealth of both hugely popular open source projects and powerful tools for building, running, and managing cloud-native applications (from RHEL to OpenShift). I wrote about this in a previous post where I interviewed Dr. Jim Comfort.
And in the other corner, its former rival in the happy days of virtualization, VMware. With the rise of public cloud and OpenStack, and then Kubernetes, the company experienced clickbait headlines about its business model business model employee retention and other concerns – while continuing to post satisfactory financial results. With recent news, execs in VMware laugh many years ago.
The Multi-Cloud, Cloud-Native Company
The courageous decision to discontinue its own public cloud service – something IBM, with its large Softlayer property, didn't make it crucial – led VMware to embrace its position as a multi-cloud manager, with strategic deals brokered with AWS and other clouds.
Then came the wave of acquisitions: Heptio, a cloud-native services company founded by the originators of the Kubernetes project; Bitnami, a cloud developer company with deep developer relationships; and most recently Pivotal, OpenShift's major rival in the business of PaaS.
At VMworld this week, we witnessed the pièce de résistance with Project Pacific and Tanzu Mission Control, effectively summarized by former Heptio co-founder and CEO Craig McLuckie:
Both IBM and VMware are clearly underway. The dominance of developers and the popularity of open source as a cloud-native methodology is likely to secure some kind of balance of power in the ecosystem, but with the dramatic and rapid resurgence of these two ex-"has-beens", Kubernetes and related projects really matures into business technologies. So far, the innovator's dilemma has found its solution.
While Clayton Christensen's" Innovators' Dilemma "taught us that executives will struggle to maintain their leadership position in dynamic industries, others like Ron Adner have reminded us that it is rarely the innovator who ends up capturing most Examples of technology abound, from Xerox Labs and the graphical user interface to Sony and the MP3 player (both examples will be redefined by Apple later).
Sometimes, a handful of new players emerge that really break through dominance – Amazon Web Services is an obvious example of the IT infrastructure area – but the vast majority end up failing (think how many more public cloud players existed just a few years ago), as the Monkchips analyst firm has shown with its "VMware pattern" "theory, it's mostly because it's very difficult to mature as a company, to take your innovative technology from inception to broader company adoption.  VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Heptio co-founder and CTO Joe Beda, the day of the announcement that the former company bought the latter. ” data-width=”960″/>