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The Art of Corporate Success: The Story of Schlumberger by Ken Auletta

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11

WHY DOES SCHLUMBERGER SUCCEED?

At a time when attention has been riveted on why U.S. companies fail, it is useful to ask the flip side of that question: Why does a company like Schlumberger succeed?

In order to answer this, one should probably first inquire into the degree of success of Schlumberger’s various components. Schlumberger, according to Wall Street analysts, has a near-monopoly on the oilfield-wireline business—about 70 percent of the world market. (Its nearest wireline competitor, Dresser Industries’ Atlas Oilfield Services Group, has just over 10 percent.) And Schlumberger retains its near-monopoly even though it charges higher prices than its competitors. “We believe we are entitled to a certain return on investment, which we ...

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