Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Dell may disappear within 20 years, a study predicts.

Research into over 3,000 of the biggest US companies carried out by Gregg Hackett, a professor at the Kent State University business school, revealed that in 44 years overall profits have fallen by 40 percent to an average profitability of 4.3 percent.

And Hackett predicts that Amazon, Dell, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo could be among the large technology firms to disappear within the next 20 years.

The research also revealed that a third of US companies trading publicly between 1960 and 2004 went bust and a third were acquired within an average of 23 years.

Hackett also stated that 80 percent of companies are declining three times faster now than in 1960.

The main reasons companies fail include failing to adapt to globalisation, lacking flexibility as they increase in size and using outdated planning processes. Hackett advised businesses that to survive they would need to take risks and deal with information overload.