Why the Disrupted are privately griping about tech upstarts at Davos

Given the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum was the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it was natural that Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurs were publicly lionised as creative disrupters, writes John Thornhill. But that didn’t stop some traditional companies, which are being disrupted, privately grumbling that the tech upstarts sometimes appeared to play by different rules. The charge sheet ran as follows: Tech companies boast that they are changing the world for the better and have launched some impressive philanthropic initiatives. But traditional companies argued that the disrupters sometimes shirked their basic corporate responsibilities. “It would be better if they paid their taxes,” said one European chief executive. The Disrupted also criticized the Disrupters for exploiting regulatory arbitrage. For example, some argued that Uber had an unfair advantage over rival taxi…


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