Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

1948: Said to be the world's fastest calculator. Photo: Keystone / Staff / Getty

For several years, one of the greatest fears of the world's legacy companies has been disruption by an Uber or Airbnb — an adroit new startup with a cheap, market-shattering idea. But a surprising new reality led by the confluence of big data and artificial intelligence has softened their anxiety, and made them think they — and not startups — are the new, new thing, according to a new study.  

Quick take: If the study — by IBM and Oxford Economics, a commercial arm of Oxford University — is right, publicly traded legacy companies in numerous industries may be on the cusp of a boom in value.

According to the study, based on interviews with 12,854 C-suite executives in 112 countries across 20 industries, 72% said that, if their sector is disrupted, it will be by old hands such as themselves. Just 22% said a small company or startup would be responsible for such a shakeup.

  • "It talks to a confidence different from the past, when the assumption was that disruption was all coming from small, nimble startups that were going to break up basic business models," Mark Foster, a senior vice president at IBM, told Axios. "Now its more a case of they are fighting back."

The big difference is data: The prevailing wisdom is that companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn have vacuumed up the majority of the world's commercializable data. But, according to the study, such Big Tech companies control only about 20% of it.

  • Instead, far older incumbents like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America and the UK's Santander own about 80% of the world's data, the study said.
  • "Your bank has records on you going back since you started banking with them," Foster said. "They know a lot more about you than Google or Linked in are going to scrape from the Web."
  • "And they will combine their own information with external information that's on the Web, like likes and dislikes," he said.

A crucial fact: There is a more level tech playing field.

  • AI — the key enabling technology for commercializing this data — is available to everyone and monopolized by no single or group of companies. No single company is in control of AI.
  • Therefore, incumbent companies can build platforms customized for their own industries, and, using AI, can monetize their proprietary data, the study said.

This does not mean Big Tech is in trouble, the study said.

Amazon, for instance, will continue to be a threat to the industries it is preying on, "but there will be more competition going forward," Foster said.

Go deeper: IBM presents the study live in Barcelona at 9:45 am EST today.

Go deeper

58 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.