"It happens to just about every industry, from hard drives to furniture--the insurgents, coming up from the bottom of the market, had an incentive to refine their techniques, engage with their customers and innovate. The incumbents, saddled with much higher costs and less innovation, watched themselves go bankrupt, one by one."
Can you say China? HUAWEI? Vonage? 8x8?
Every market gets disrupted. The Internet has been the greatest tool of disruption. Think about Netflix and Google Apps.
"Instead of working hard to keep their share of a shrinking pie, or working even harder to make sure the industry stays as is, I think the most essential thing legacy
book industryplayers can do is set up independent ventures with great people and little interference and work really hard to put themselves out of business by starting at the bottom, not by reinforcing the top."
Some ILEC's like Windstream, TDS and CenturyLink have used acquisitions as a way to counter-balance disruption that broadband and cellular have done to the market. M&A will only get you so far.
We are already seeing where Live365/Office suites have become a commodity. VoIP is certainly sold as a commodity. Hosted PBX is probably next. Any time you can automate it, someone will come along, with less costs, and undercut your price. The Incumbents will have to take the hit just to stay in the game. Look at CLEC's and the T1 market. The cablecos are disrupting the T1 market. Next it will be MPLS.
It will be skill set, human talent, integration, customer care, and WOM that will set your product offering apart from the rest of the crowd.
That Seth Godin always gets my mind going.