The trend towards direct interaction between consumers and producers, which reduces or eliminates the need for intermediaries such as wholesalers, retailers, brokers, and agents.
When information shifts from physical to digital form, the old intermediary roles disappear. Suppliers and their customers are directly linked through the Internet — they don’t need all those people in between.
For many of the folks in the middle, disintermediation means they’ll need to buy a copy of What Colour Is Your Parachute? Or some other career planning book.
—Don Tapscott, “Big Ideas Cyberspace victims can still win big,” The Globe and Mail, May 30, 1997
If you are in the middle, you may be in big trouble. I don’t mean if you’re a member of the middle class. I’m talking about if you’re a middleman in business, belonging to one of those enterprises that sit between the consumer and the supplier. We are in the process of disintermediation — getting rid of the services that are in the middle — and this process is one of the reasons why the information age economy will be so much more efficient than our existing one.
—William Davidow, “Forbes ASAP,” Forbes, February 24, 1997
Likewise, systems providing direct, immediate connection of consumers to suppliers are emerging. For example, Videotex mail-order systems make it possible for the domestic consumer to shop using video and telecommunications. Unless the middleman is something like a big food retailer, the producer can now take on the complexity which the middleman protected him from. This elimination of intermediaries is being called disintermediation.
—David Kaye, “Hi-tech squeeze on middlemen,” The Sunday Times, October 29, 1989