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Purpose – This chapter discusses the difference between a product strategy and a platform strategy, relying on examples from the history of Apple and Microsoft in personal…
Purpose – This chapter discusses the difference between a product strategy and a platform strategy, relying on examples from the history of Apple and Microsoft in personal computers and other devices as well as Sony and Japan Victor Corporation in videocassette recorders.
Design/methodology/approach – The chapter begins with a review of how the term “platform” has been used in the management literature and defines an industry-wide platform (as compared to an in-house company product platform) as a foundation technology (or service) that brings multiple parties in a market together for a common purpose. An industry-wide platform can generate powerful network effects between the platform and complementary products and services that make the platform increasingly valuable. Apple, with the Macintosh computer, and Sony with the Betamax VCR as well as other products, such as the Walkman media player, are examples of firms that developed excellent products but followed a product-first strategy and ended up losing in these markets or becoming niche players. They paid relatively little attention to opening up their technology to outside firms and cultivating an ecosystem of partners. Apple changed in the early 2000s with the iPod and iTunes, and then the iPhone and iPad, and has risen from near bankruptcy to become an enormously valuable and profitable platform leader.
Findings – Historical examples suggest that, in a platform market, the winner is not the firm with the best product, but rather the firm with the best platform – that is, the foundation technology or service that is most open to outsiders and which stimulates development of the most compelling complements.
Originality/value – This result extends the literature's understanding of platform strategy.
Purpose – This chapter is intended to identify the actual and potential linkages between history and strategy research.Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on examples…
Purpose – This chapter is intended to identify the actual and potential linkages between history and strategy research.
Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on examples from research at the intersection of history and strategy, we identify research topics that have received attention from a historical-strategy lens, and those that are thus far understudied. We then place the studies that appear in this volume into their relevant context.
Findings – The chapter outlines benefits that the strategy field can gain from a greater emphasis on history, and that the history field can gain from a greater use of strategic insights.
Originality/value – The chapter sets the context for the studies in this volume, and provides a lens for evaluating the benefits of historical-strategy research.
Purpose – What role did economic experiments play in creating value in the commercial market for wireless Internet access? Rosenberg (1992, p. 181) defines such…
Purpose – What role did economic experiments play in creating value in the commercial market for wireless Internet access? Rosenberg (1992, p. 181) defines such experiments broadly, “to include experimentation with new forms of economic organization as well as the better-known historical experiments that have been responsible for new products and new manufacturing technologies.”
Design/methodology/approach – The chapter provides an overview of the experience of a number of firms, focusing on the period between the late 1990s and early part of the 21st century, when the technology first blossomed in commercial markets. The chapter uses the experience of Lucent and Intel as primary illustrations of key concepts, and the chapter discusses how the framework generalizes beyond the experience of these two firms.
Findings – The distinction between directed and undirected experiments helps understand events in the evolution of Wi-Fi's value. They also bring new perspective to an extensive debate in communications policy about the best way to assign and allocate spectrum, focusing on the importance of the regulatory decision to provide space in which experiments can take place.
Originality/value – This framework has value for business history of the commercial Internet. This lens stresses the importance of preserving discretion to move business away from applications with low value, namely, away from allocations that used a conceptualization of the technology founded on a poor-use case, which later lessons showed had lower value than alternatives.
Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on…
Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on the topic remain disintegrated and because both lack a sophisticated account of how social structure and interdependencies among organizations affect decline. This paper develops a perspective which tries to overcome these problems. The perspective explains decline through an understanding of how social ties and resource dependencies among firms affect market structure and the resulting behavior of firms within it. Evidence is furnished that supports the assumptions of the perspective and provides a basis for specifying propositions about the effect of network structure on organizational survival. I conclude by discussing the perspective’s implications for organizational theory and economic sociology.
Purpose – This paper focuses on a unique historical case study of industry evolution in order to develop a road map where historical and strategic research could develop a…
Purpose – This paper focuses on a unique historical case study of industry evolution in order to develop a road map where historical and strategic research could develop a common ground for trans-disciplinary inquiry.
Design/methodology/approach – The industry I explore is the Universal Credit Card Industry since its inception with the Diners Club in 1949 until its maturity in late 1990s. My empirical objective here is to develop a historically detailed and theoretically rich case study in which evolutionary processes are discovered as a result of the historical narrative.
Findings – The historical account of the industry demonstrates how the evolution of alternative business models as organizing forms has led to the establishment of interorganizational platforms with unique ecosystems. These alternative business models, through various experimentations, have ultimately produced two critical interorganizational organizations, one based on an open-loop system represented by Visa and MasterCard, and the other based on a closed-loop system represented by Diners Club and the American Express. The historical account also shows that in a given industry competition is not only among specific firms in the industry but also among the business models and the platforms created by these models.
Originality/value – I conclude that historical analyses reveal the nature of competition not only among firms but also among alternative business models where traditional strategy research rarely covers.