Success Factors of Mobile Business Ecosystems: From Hardware-Centric to Content and Advertising Based Business Models 

Juha Winter

Research output: ThesisLicenciate's thesisTheses

Abstract

For firms operating in a networked economy or business ecosystems, value creation may be highly dependent on the relationships with other firms, which has added a significant amount of complexity particularly to strategic and product-related decision-making. In systems thinking, a firm is seen as part of a wider economic ecosystem and environment where it influences and is influenced by other firms. Within a business ecosystem, firms coevolve capabilities around innovations, working both cooperatively and competitively to support new products, satisfy customers, and incorporate the following round of innovations. Ecosystems are often formed around platforms on which products and complements are built, and platforms may also facilitate transactions between distinct groups of users in a two or multi-sided market. In this study, established theoretical concepts have been brought together to analyze the success factors of mobile business ecosystems in a holistic manner. Additionally, the impact of the historical legacy and path-dependent evolution of a firm’s previous business activities, capabilities, and assets on decisions the firm has made in its ecosystem and platform strategies is studied, and a novel theoretical concept, ‘angle of entry’, is recognized. Through a qualitative multiple case study of three leading companies in the smartphone business and their respective business ecosystems, eight common success factors are identified that have contributed to the disruption of the smartphone business by these three new entrants from the IT world, replacing the incumbents. Based on the results, it can be stated that all three leading ecosystems utilize, at least to a certain extent, closed source code to protect their differentiating or otherwise significantly value-adding software components. Similarly, the product platforms of all three ecosystems offer sufficiently open application programming interfaces so that device manufacturers, accessory makers, and developers are able to create products and apps with meaningful differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationLicentiate's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Ylä-Jääski, Antti, Supervising Professor
  • Luukkainen, S., Thesis Advisor, External person
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG3 Licentiate thesis

Keywords

  • app store
  • Business ecosystems
  • Mobile
  • Operating systems
  • Path dependence
  • Platform
  • Smartphone
  • Strategy
  • Two-sided market
  • Value network

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