This post is by Tomasz Tunguz from Tomasz Tunguz
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HBS Professor Michael Porter created the Five Forces Framework in 1979 in a landmark book called Competitive Strategy. One of those forces, the threat of substitutes has intrigued me for quite a while because in the world of the Internet, the prevailing wisdom on switching costs argues they are trivial on the web. After all, how difficult is it to change from Google search to Bing search? This is the question Google wrestled with during its search share battle in the mid 00s.