Now combine this buildup in performance firepower with the acceptance of all browser vendors that HTML 5 is here to stay. What do we get?
A classic marketplace disruption.
Clayton Christensen developed a framework for thinking about why large companies fail by doing the "right thing". He's studied a number of industries where dominant players were overtaken by new entrants riding a disruptive wave. It's important to realize that disruptive innovations enter the market with severe handicaps that prevent them from being useful to the broad marketplace. As a result, prudent business practice demands that they be ignored. As Christensen puts it succinctly in his book, The Innovators' Dilemma:
Disruptive technologies bring to the market a very different value proposition than had been available previously. Generally, disruptive technologies underperform established products in mainstream markets. But they have other features that a few fringe (and generally new) customers value. Products based on disruptive technologies are typically cheaper, simpler, smaller, and frequently, more convenient to use. …
If this were all there was to the framework, it wouldn't be very useful, but something strange happens with disruptive technologies:
… technologies can progress faster than market demand… in their efforts to provide better products than their competitors and earn higher prices and margins, suppliers often "overshoot" their market: They give customers more than they need or ultimately are willing to pay for. And more importantly, it means that disruptive technologies that may underperform today, relative to what users in the market demand, may be fully performance-competitive in that same market tomorrow.
Or to put it graphically: