Big Tech, the Platform Economy and the European Digital Markets

Center for Financial Studies Working Paper No. 711, 2023

20 Pages Posted: 14 May 2023

See all articles by Volker Brühl

Volker Brühl

Center for Financial Studies (CFS)

Date Written: May 2, 2023


Digital platforms have become an important part of the digital economy by facilitating transactions between large numbers of users and by fostering innovation on collaborative platforms. In combination with technical platform services, some platform operators have managed to create powerful ecosystems that create network externalities and benefit from economies of scale and economies of scope. It is striking that, due to the specific economic drivers of the digital infrastructure, platform-based or platform-related services are dominated by a select number of global players. Most of the global platform operators are headquartered in the US, including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft, also known as the “Big 5”. Some are located in Asia (e.g. Alibaba, Tencent). In Europe there are only a limited number of platform operators with a small market share.

Much research has been conducted on the emergence and characteristics of platforms, network externalities and platform competition. However, there has been very little research on whether or not one can idķentify common features that might explain the success of Big Tech. The following article focuses on an analysis of the Big 5 based on their strategies and development paths. The comparison reveals certain commonalities, from which several conclusions can be drawn regarding the success factors of the Big 5. These insights could be helpful for business decision-makers when shaping digital strategies. But also policy makers, especially in Europe, could benefit from these lessons learned to improve the European technology ecosystem.ķ

JEL Classification: L14, L22, L25

Suggested Citation

Brühl, Volker, Big Tech, the Platform Economy and the European Digital Markets (May 2, 2023). Center for Financial Studies Working Paper No. 711, 2023, Available at SSRN: or

Volker Brühl (Contact Author)

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323

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