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‘Moat’ Is the Latest Jargon Encircling Silicon Valley

Tech executives are fond of using an old term to describe the strength of their businesses.
Photographer: Angelo Hornak/Corbis via Getty Images

As technology companies race to invent the future, they're turning to a metaphor borrowed from Medieval times to explain their businesses.

"Moat" has become a favorite term of tech executives. It's typically used to describe products or services that protect a company from incursions by competitors. The word has come up 89 times since last year in earnings calls, presentations and other tech company events, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Two dozen of those were this year, and on the current trajectory, it's likely to match 2016's total.