We define attrition as a head to head, feature to feature frontal attack that eventually leads to commoditization, lower quality and lower service.


Attrition and Maneuver are both viable business strategies, but they differ in a number of important ways. Attrition seeks to win by overwhelming force, attacking a competitor head on, regardless of the cost for either side. Maneuver seeks to attack only when necessary, and only when the attacker has an unreasonable advantage.

We define attrition as “any strategy that seeks to compete with an established incumbent in a battle for market share supremacy with virtually identical products and services”. Attrition ultimately leads to commoditization, reduced services and lower prices. Every participant in an attrition battle loses, as commoditization increases, services and quality fall.

Attrition is simpler to execute that maneuver, because attrition simply matches feature for feature, attacking competitive products directly. One noted military strategist suggested that attrition was “evidence of the absence of strategy”.