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Apple Vs. Xiaomi, Amazon Vs. Instacart, And 8 More Vital Rivals

Updates on all our 2015 rivalries.

[Paper Sculpture: Bianca Chang]

Apple vs. Xiaomi

The Reigning Champion
Xiaomi had the lead in converting customers in emerging markets to its smartphones and connected gadgets, but the sluggish Chinese economy and heightened competition have slowed its progress. Still: It’s coming to the U.S. with a set-top TV box.

The Challenger
Despite Apple’s declining sales in China, CEO Tim Cook’s $1 billion bet on Chinese ride-sharing leader Didi Chuxing and his push into India reveal that he remains bullish on defeating Xiaomi worldwide.

2016 Advantage
Apple


Amazon vs. Instacart

Amazon Dash

The Reigning Champion
Amazon sells groceries via Prime Now (popular items in an hour), Prime Pantry (staples in a big box for big savings), and Dash (push-button reordering). Plus: New house brands!

The Challenger
Instacart’s rocky year of layoffs and shifts in its business model have only been brightened by Whole Foods, which recently expanded their partnership.

2016 Advantage
Amazon


Snapchat vs. Twitter

The Reigning Champion
Snapchat’s momentum—from Live Stories of cultural events such as Drake’s album drop to its Chat 2.0 upgrade—has both millennials and advertisers rapt.

The Challenger
A handful of Twitter product changes—including evolving past its reverse-chronological timeline—have failed to jump-start lethargic user growth. Will NFL broadcasts be a game changer or a Hail Mary pass?

2016 Advantage
Snapchat


Vice vs. CNN

The Reigning Champion
Vice’s cable net Viceland debuted with much fanfare for new shows such as Ellen Page’s Gaycation. Its anemic audience, an average of just 55,000 viewers a day, was no virtue.

The Challenger
CNN’s Trump-fueled boost has helped it debut shows like comic W. Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America. Digital-video bet Great Big Story won 25 million viewers.

2016 Advantage
CNN


Silicon Valley vs. Europe

The Reigning Champion
Google and Microsoft dropped regulatory complaints against each other in April, indicating that U.S. tech companies may join forces when it comes to fighting the EU.

The Challenger
The EU’s proposed "digital single market" to thwart American dominance is years from fruition. Issues with the U.K. and Greece could further delay the initiative. Meanwhile, EU regulators continue to challenge Silicon Valley giants Alphabet and Amazon.

2016 Advantage
Tie


Google vs. Verizon

The Reigning Champion
Google’s Project Fi wireless service remains a hobby, but Alphabet, Google’s parent, is ramping up its Verizon Fios competitor, Fiber—and pushing for better Wi-Fi.

The Challenger
Verizon plans to upgrade its wireless network to 5G, which would let it offer Fios home broadband nationwide. A large, ugly workers’ strike, including Fios installers, has cast a pall on its current high-speed Internet efforts.

2016 Advantage
Google


GoPro vs. DJI

The Reigning Champion
GoPro’s Hero4 Session camera performed so poorly that the company endured both layoffs and steep stock declines. Those waiting for its long-gestating drone were disappointed when its release was delayed from summer to Christmas.

The Challenger
DJI dominates the consumer drone market with the Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 lines, and wins over professionals with higher-end rigs like the Inspire.

2016 Advantage
DJI


Facebook vs. Microsoft

The Reigning Champion
Facebook’s Oculus division finally launched its virtual-reality Rift headset in March. Despite shipment delays that irked some customers, the device received generally positive reviews and marks a new chapter in the mainstreaming of VR.

Microsoft HoloLensPhoto: David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Challenger
The HoloLens augmented-reality headset remains available only as a $3,000 developer kit, and Microsoft isn’t saying when it will ship to consumers.

2016 Advantage
Facebook


Taco Bell vs. McDonald’s

The Reigning Champion
Taco Bell has been throwing dollars into delivery apps and even created a TacoBot for Slack to speed its Mexican fast food to devotees. Competitors’ 4-for-$4-style deals have slowed sales; Taco Bell’s new $1 breakfast menu is designed to woo bargain hunters.

The Challenger
McDonald’s turnaround includes new restaurant decor and less-processed McNuggets. But all-day breakfast is what has produced a needed sales bump.

2016 Advantage
Tie


FIFA vs. NFL

The Reigning Champion
FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is still dogged by corruption scandals, but "the beautiful game" remains indestructible for fans and sponsors alike.

The Challenger
Participation in football youth leagues is in decline, and public concern over head injuries continues to dominate headlines and paint NFL officials in an unflattering light. But TV ratings and sponsorship dollars remain strong.

2016 Advantage
Tie

A version of this article appeared in the July/August issue of Fast Company magazine.

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