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The Boundaries of the Platform: Vertical Integration and Economic Incentives in Mobile Computing

  • Boudreau, Kevin
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    Research on the organization of systems industries generally takes the boundaries of platforms to be exogenously-determined artifacts, given by the nature of technology. This paper studies whether platform boundaries are responsive to economic incentives by studying variation in platform boundaries in competing systems in mobile computing. Using detailed descriptive evidence and systematically collected databases of integration patterns, I find that platform boundaries in this industry could be understood as established in response to three primary goals: 1) to consolidate control around assets that conferred the power to regulate production in the system as a whole; 2) to integrate economic activities that risked coordination problems; 3) to open platform boundaries in response to interactions with market competition.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/30609
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    Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 30609.

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    Date of creation: 13 Jan 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:30609
    Contact details of provider: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
    Phone: 617-253-2659
    Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/

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    Order Information: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

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    1. Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-32, December.
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