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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Framework On the Power of Platforms

 Considerable embedded links to supporting information. 

A Framework for Understanding the Power of Platforms

By Irving Wladawsky by IWB / September 08, 2022 at 08:09AM .... 

This past July, MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy held its 10th annual Platform Strategy Summit. The hybrid Summit included a number of panels and keynotes throughout the day, a few of which I attended online. In particular, I’d like to discuss the very interesting presentation by Boston University professor Marshall Van Allstyne as part of a panel on emerging trends in which he raised and answered five fundamental questions about platforms:

Structure: Why do platforms have such high market caps but so few assets or employees?

Strategy: Why does traditional product strategy fail in platform markets?

Regulation: Why does traditional antitrust fail in platform markets?

Fake News: Why is misinformation such a hard problem?

Can Decentralized Autonomous Organizations dethrone platforms?

In his presentation, Van Alstyne, aimed to articulate a single framework that will help answer all five questions, that is, a consistent way of thinking about platforms based on the research that he and his colleagues have been conducting over the past decade. Let me summarize Van Alstyne’s presentation by first describing his unifying framework, followed by how the framework applies to each of the five key questions.

Platforms have long played a key role in the IT industry. IBM’s System 360 family of mainframes, announced in 1964, featured a common hardware architecture and operating system. The ecosystem of add-on hardware, software and services that developed around System 360 helped it become the premier platform for commercial computing over the next 25 years.

In the 1980s, the explosive growth of personal computers was largely driven by the emergence of the Wintel platform based on Microsoft’s operating systems and Intel’s microprocessors, which attracted a large ecosystem of hardware and software developers.  .... ' 

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