Platform Strategy

14 Pages Posted: 22 May 2014 Last revised: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker

Dartmouth College

Marshall W. Van Alstyne

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School

Date Written: April 21, 2014


This article provides an encyclopedic survey of the platform strategy literature and is organized around launch strategies, governance, and competition. A platform strategy is the mobilization of a networked business platform to expand into and operate in a given market. A business platform, in turn, is a nexus of rules and infrastructure that facilitate interactions among network users. A platform may also be viewed as a published standard, together with a governance model, that facilitates third party participation. Platforms provide building blocks that serve as the foundation for complementary products and services. They also match buyers with suppliers, who transact directly with each other using system resources and are generally subject to network effects. Examples include operating systems, game consoles, payment systems, ride sharing platforms, smart grids, healthcare networks, and social networks.

Keywords: Platforms, Two-Sided Networks, Network Effects, Competition, Governance, Openness, Launch

JEL Classification: D24, K2, L1, M2, O3

Suggested Citation

Parker, Geoffrey and Van Alstyne, Marshall W., Platform Strategy (April 21, 2014). The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management (2014), Available at SSRN: or

Geoffrey Parker (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College ( email )

School of Engineering
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-9075 (Phone)


Marshall W. Van Alstyne

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-358-3571 (Phone)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School ( email )

Initiative on the Digital Economy
245 First St, Room E94-1521
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0768 (Phone)


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