Engines in Action

Chapter 1: Invisible Engines

Inside this Chapter:

  • The definition and history of software platforms
  • The businesses powered by software platforms
  • The basic economics of software platforms
  • The plan of the bookMany modern products run on software platforms. Car engines and navigation systems have one, as do jumbo jets and the handheld devices we use for emailing and organizing oursel…

Chapter 2: Speaking in Code

Inside this Chapter:

  • The birth and evolution of modern computing
  • The development of operating systems and software platforms
  • The role of APIs in reducing duplication of programming efforts
  • The production of commercial and open-source softwareSoftware platforms come in several varieties, depending on what the code does and where among the various compu…

Chapter 3: Both Sides Now

Inside this Chapter:

  • Software platforms as information-goods and multisided platforms
  • Economic and strategic characteristics of multisided platforms
  • Economic aspects of open-source softwareSoftware platforms are a written product of the mind. They are in effect documents, usually written in a high-level computer language. The code involved is malleable. It ca…

Chapter 4: Dropouts and Evangelists

Inside this Chapter:

  • The history of PC software platforms
  • The role of multisided strategies in promoting growth and profits
  • Hardware integration and its effect on the growth of the Apple and Microsoft platformsIn the first years of the computer industry, every computer was on its own island. In the early 1950s, a few large corporations, government agencies, a…

Chapter 5: Pong

Inside this Chapter:

  • What ignited the market for video games
  • Why video game business models are different from other software platforms
  • How the video game industry operates todayIn 1991, Trip Hawkins seemed to be trying to do for video games what Bill Gates had done for PCs. He started 3DO as a new kind of game console company. Instead of making its own conso…

Chapter 6: The Palm Economy

Inside this Chapter:

  • How PDAs were born and came of age
  • Multisided strategies and the “Palm economy”
  • Changing patterns of integration over timeDuring the late 1990s, many a young executive carried a PalmPilot and pecked her appointments into the device’s screen using its special handwriting recognition software. PalmPilots were mainly organizers—computerized …

Chapter 7: Ba-BA-Ba-BAAAAH

Inside this Chapter:

  • The complex structure of the mobile phone industry
  • Software platforms for smart mobile phones
  • Multisided strategies and the development of DoCoMo’s i-mode phone platformMany years ago, most telephones alerted people that they had a call with a single jarring ring. The same unchangeable ringtone was bundled into every phone. As we all know…

Chapter 8: Dangerous Intersections

Inside this Chapter:

  • The elements of digital media platform technology
  • The major players and their diverse business models
  • Competition among intersecting digital media platformsWhite headphones dangle from the ears of many employees at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. These almost always connect to iPods. Apple had sold 15 million of these digital…

Chapter 9: With a Little Help . . .

Inside this Chapter:

  • The design of software platform ecosystems
  • Advantages and disadvantages of one-sided versus multisided strategies
  • Why software platform integration varies across industries and over timeThis chapter and the next two focus on three key strategic decisions faced by software platform vendors. The first, considered in this chapter, is the sco…

Chapter 10: Some Lunches Are Free

Inside this Chapter:

  • The basics of software platform pricing
  • When to use fixed versus access fees
  • Where software platforms have sought profitWhen you go to a video game arcade, you have to pay every time you start a game. At home, once you have bought a game for your video game console, you can play it as often as you like. And if you play online, you can als…

Chapter 11: When Bigger Is Better

Inside this Chapter:

  • How and why software platforms have expanded over time
  • The software platform value proposition
  • The economics of bundling features into software platformsWhen measured by lines of code, software platforms have grown steadily and substantially over time. This pattern holds across software platforms for the same computing device. Linux, the …

Chapter 12: Swept Away

Inside this Chapter:

  • Why software platforms create, destroy, and transform industries
  • The enormous potential of Web-based software platforms
  • How auction-based and search-based platforms are transforming the retail sectorSoftware platforms march relentlessly across the economic landscape, forming new industries, transforming others, and sometimes shattering ol…