Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations: Chapter 14 Introducing Open Platforms and Ecosystems

25 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2018 Last revised: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Carliss Y. Baldwin

Carliss Y. Baldwin

Harvard Business School, Finance Unit

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive theoretical investigation of open 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 platforms and then provide a brief history of open digital platforms. I go on to argue that the success of open platforms in competition with vertically integrated firms gave rise to the “vertical-to-horizontal” transition in the computer industry between 1985 and 2000. The technology of open digital platforms not only shaped individual organizations but changed the structure of the entire computer industry.

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Carliss Y., Design Rules, Volume 2: How Technology Shapes Organizations: Chapter 14 Introducing Open Platforms and Ecosystems (January 2019). Harvard Business School, Harvard Business School Research Paper Series # 19-035. 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, Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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