Exploiting and defending open digital platforms with boundary resources: Android's five platform forks

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArticleScientificvertaisarvioitu

22 Sitaatiot (Scopus)
345 Lataukset (Pure)

Abstrakti

Digital platforms can be opened in two ways to promote innovation and value generation. A platform owner can open access for third-party participants by establishing boundary resources, such as APIs and an app store, to allowcomplements to be developed and shared for the platform. Furthermore, to foster cooperation with the complementors, the platform owner can use an open-source license boundary resource to open and share the platform's core resources. However, openness that is too wide renders the platform and its shared resources vulnerable to strategic exploitation. To our knowledge, platform strategies that promote such negative outcomes have remained unexplored in past research. We identify and analyze a prominent form of strategic exploitation called platformforking in which a hostile firm, i.e., a forker, bypasses the host's controlling boundary resources and exploits the platform's shared resources, core and complements, to create a competing platform business. We investigate platform forking on Google's Android platform, a successful open digital platform, by analyzing the fate of five Android forks and related exploitative activities. We observe several strategies that illustrate alternative ways of bundling a platform fork from a set of host, forker, and other resources. We also scrutinize Google's responses, which modified Android's boundary resources to curb exploitation and retain control. In this paper, we make two contributions. First, we present a theorization of the competitive advantage of open digital platforms and specifically expose platform forking as an exploitative and competitive platform strategy. Second, we extend platform governance literature by showing how boundary resources, which are mainly viewed as cooperative governance mechanisms, are also used to combat platform forking and thus sustain a platform's competitive advantage.

AlkuperäiskieliEnglanti
Sivut479-497
Sivumäärä19
JulkaisuInformation Systems Research
Vuosikerta29
Numero2
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 1 kesäkuuta 2018
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu

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