The Boundaries of the Platform

72 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2005 Last revised: 8 Jan 2018

See all articles by Kevin Boudreau

Kevin Boudreau

Northeastern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 28, 2008

Abstract

Research on the organization of systems industries generally takes the boundaries of platforms to be exogenously-determined artifacts, given by the nature of technology. This paper studies whether platform boundaries are responsive to economic incentives by studying variation in platform boundaries in competing systems in mobile computing. Using detailed descriptive evidence and systematically collected databases of integration patterns, I find that platform boundaries in this industry could be understood as established in response to three primary goals: 1) to consolidate control around assets that conferred the power to regulate production in the system as a whole; 2) to integrate economic activities that risked coordination problems; 3) to open platform boundaries in response to interactions with market competition.

Keywords: Platforms, modular systems, product design, complementors, industry architecture

JEL Classification: D2, L1, L2, L63, L86

Suggested Citation

Boudreau, Kevin, The Boundaries of the Platform (February 28, 2008). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4565-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=834984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.834984

Kevin Boudreau (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

805 Columbus Ave, Interdisciplinary Sci & Eng Bldg
Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevinboudreau.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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