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Frenemy > Wiki


"Frenemy" (alternately spelled "frienemy") is a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" which can refer to either an enemy disguised as a friend or to a partner who is simultaneously a competitor. The term is used to describe personal, geopolitical, and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions. The word has appeared in print as early as 1953.

A Businessweek article stated that frenemies in the workplace are common, due to increasingly informal environments and the "abundance of very close, intertwined relationships that bridge people's professional and personal lives ... [while] it certainly wasn't unheard of for people to socialize with colleagues in the past, the sheer amount of time that people spend at work now has left a lot of people with less time and inclination to develop friendships outside of the office".

An example of a commercial "frenemy" relationship is that between Google and WPP. Martin Sorrell said he counts Google as a frenemy of WPP, the ad agency empire which he built. On the one hand, Google offers WPP a chance to buy cutting edge interactive ads for its clients, whereas on the other, Google makes no secret of its intentions to allow anyone to buy ads for themselves, which could disintermediate against, for instance, ad agencies.

Strategies for dealing with frenemies vary. Sorrell said at UBS Media Week's conference that he wants WPP to be Google's biggest customer, but that he knows Google sees him as competition.
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