first-mover advantage
n. The advantage a company gains by being first to market with a new product or service.

Example Citation:
" 'It's absolutely true that nothing can make up for first-mover advantage, and the proof is that Yahoo! remains where it is today and eBay remains where it is, despite the entry of many other companies into those vertical categories,' said Lucas Graves, a Latin American Internet specialist at high-tech research company Jupiter Communications in New York."
—Dorren Hemlock, "Mass Production Hits the Web," Sun-Sentinel, December 3, 1999

Rumor has it that the phrase first-mover advantage derives from the board game Monopoly, where the first person to "move into" a property with houses, hotels, etc. has a big advantage (especially on the more expensive properties).

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