The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power (Hardcover)
A trio of experts on high-tech business strategy and innovation reveal the principles that have made platform businesses the most valuable firms in the world and the first trillion-dollar companies.
Managers and entrepreneurs in the digital era must learn to live in two worlds—the conventional economy and the platform economy. Platforms that operate for business purposes usually exist at the level of an industry or ecosystem, bringing together individuals and organizations so they can innovate and interact in ways not otherwise possible. Platforms create economic value far beyond what we see in conventional companies.
The Business of Platforms is an invaluable, in-depth look at platform strategy and digital innovation. Cusumano, Gawer, and Yoffie address how a small number of companies have come to exert extraordinary influence over every dimension of our personal, professional, and political lives. They explain how these new entities differ from the powerful corporations of the past. They also question whether there are limits to the market dominance and expansion of these digital juggernauts. Finally, they discuss the role governments should play in rethinking data privacy laws, antitrust, and other regulations that could reign in abuses from these powerful businesses.
Their goal is to help managers and entrepreneurs build platform businesses that can stand the test of time and win their share of battles with both digital and conventional competitors. As experts who have studied and worked with these firms for some thirty years, this book is the most authoritative and timely investigation yet of the powerful economic and technological forces that make platform businesses, from Amazon and Apple to Microsoft, Facebook, and Google—all dominant players in shaping the global economy, the future of work, and the political world we now face.
About the Author
Michael A. Cusumano is the SMR Distinguished Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has been a dean and vice president at Tokyo University of Science and has published over 130 articles and 13 books, including Competing on Internet Time and Strategy Rules (both with David Yoffie), Platform Leadership (with Annabelle Gawer), as well as Microsoft Secrets (with Richard Selby), The Business of Software, and Staying Power. He lives in Groton and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Annabelle Gawer is Chaired Professor in Digital Economy and Director of the Centre of Digital Economy at the University of Surrey. Author of Platform Leadership (with Michael Cusumano), she has published over 20 articles and edited 2 books on platforms. A leading voice in advancing research and managerial practice on platform strategy, she advises the European Commission, the UK Parliament House of Lords, and the OECD on the regulation of digital platforms. She lives in London, UK.
David B. Yoffie is the Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School. One of Intel’s longest-serving board members from 1989 to 2018, he has served on numerous high tech boards. Yoffie has written more than 200 case studies, which sold more than 4 million copies. He is the author or co-author of ten books, and has written extensively for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
“The authors authoritatively document the rules and pitfalls of platforms, combining years of research with practical guidelines and real-life examples. A must-read for all operators or participants of existing or future platform businesses.”
— Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork
“Whether you are a customer wanting to understand the economic logic behind
platforms, a business manager wanting to learn platform strategies, or a regulator
wanting to become informed about platform governance, this book offers indepth, cogent, and up-to-date answers by three experts who began analyzing
platforms when the word wasn’t even known. A true treatise and treasure.”
— Bengt Holmstrom, Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics and Management at MIT and winner of the 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
“Essential reading for any business trying to compete as a platform or against a platform. Even traditional businesses must understand how to evolve into a platform and partner with other platforms. Sound complicated? This book will help you sort it out.”
— Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International
“Should every business jump on, surrender to, or be a platform? Should government condemn, regulate, or imitate platform businesses? This book not only answers these questions; it also provides critical understanding of the underpinning and superstructure of platforms. For every business and social leader, this is the go-to book for learning the essential lessons about the business phenomenon of our times.”
— Reed Hundt, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and author of A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama’s Defining Decisions
“The Business of Platforms should be read by all managers, entrepreneurs, investors, and academics interested in platform businesses. It is rigorous and valuable, yet very readable.”
— Richard Schmalensee, former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management and coauthor of Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms