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Due to regulatory and institutional developments, changes in consumer behaviour and the emergence of new technologies during the last two decades, incumbent postal operators in Europe had to face new challenges, threats but also opportunities. The incumbents reacted with diversification into new businesses, internationalisation and both the horizontal and vertical integration by means of alliancs and acquisitions. As a consequence, the competitive landscape of the European postal market has fundamentally changed: The asymmetric market development enabled the early moving competitors to enter new markets and put pressure on incumbents in more liberalised markets. The type of ownership is a second factor which determines the competitive behaviour. Letting the incumbents into private ownership is a strategic move by which a government can increase the competitive ability of their postal organisation. Governmental ownership, in return, imposes constraints on the adoption of the most cost effective or profit maximising strategy. Incumbents with large home markets, as a third factor, naturally exert a higher competitive pressure on incumbents with smaller home markets.