Platform Wars

By Dr. Geerten van de Kaa

Complex systems such as the smart grid are technically possible to realize but they are not implemented on a large scale. One of the underlying reasons is that generally accepted compatible interfaces (or platforms) are lacking with which the components of such systems can be interconnected. The problem is not that there are no interfaces. In fact, there are many interfaces which are competing in ‘platform wars’. My research focuses on factors that affect the outcome of platform wars.

I have developed a framework consisting of 29 factors for platform dominance which I have applied to various cases of platform wars for complex systems. Factors include firm’s resources and strategies as well as a platform’s technical characteristics such as the compatibility that it enables. Also, market mechanisms such as network effects are taken into account. I have tested the completeness and relevance of the framework and I have explored the extent to which weights can be assigned to factors . It appears that the inter-organizational network of stakeholders that are supporting the platform is essential for achieving success. In some papers I have explored several elements of the inter-organizational network of stakeholders on platform success.

To fully understand platform wars, a broader approach is needed than just focusing on a firm in its economic environment. Functional and ethical consumer values also need to be considered and may lead to increased platform acceptability and thus to platform selection. I am currently exploring this novel notion.

Smart grid related projects:

  • Platform wars for socially responsible smart grids: the influence of stakeholder networks and platform flexibility (funded by NWO_MVI)




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