Design Rules Volume 2: Chapter 14 Open Platforms and the Vertical-to-Horizontal Transition of the Computer Industry

Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations

30 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2018 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

Date Written: July 18, 2021

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive theoretical investigation of open digital platform systems. To do this, we must first recognize that, although there is a strong family resemblance among all platform systems, there are different types of platforms, each with its own set of technological requirements and challenges. I first develop a taxonomy of open digital platforms. I go on to argue that the success of open platforms and ecosystems in competition with vertically integrated firms gave rise to the “vertical-to-horizontal” transition of the computer industry described by Andy Grove in 1996. In effect, the technology of open platforms not only shaped individual organizations but changed the structure of the entire computer industry.

Keywords: Technology, Organizations, Modularity

JEL Classification: L1, L2, O3

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Carliss Y., Design Rules Volume 2: Chapter 14 Open Platforms and the Vertical-to-Horizontal Transition of the Computer Industry (July 18, 2021). Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3270648 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3270648

Carliss Y. Baldwin (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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