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Structuring the Smartphone Industry. Is the Mobile Internet OS Platform the Key?


  • Kenney, Martin
  • Pon, Bryan


Until the introduction of the iPhone, cellular telephony and the Internet were essentially separate. The Internet was a PC-based service, while mobile telephony was conducted on a telephone. Though there were mobile products that provided communication services such as email, web access and other Internet services were either unavailable or inferior to those available on a PC. The smartphone cate-gory redefined by Apple meant the convergence of traditional mobile telephony, Internet services, and personal computing. As these sectors merge into a single device, formerly separate industry architec-tures and their constituent firms are being forced into direct competition. We test theories of industry architecture and technological platforms regarding their ability to explain the strategies of key entrants in navigating the transition. We analyze in detail the actions and strategies of four major competitors, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and, more briefly, Research in Motion and HP/Palm, from the framework of technological platform theory. Our analysis suggests that currently some competitors are following traditional platform strategies, but that Google and Apple appear to have adopted strate-gies at odds with platform literature. We examine how the dynamics of this convergence may lead to a reconsideration of certain tenets of platform theory.

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  • Kenney, Martin & Pon, Bryan, 2011. "Structuring the Smartphone Industry. Is the Mobile Internet OS Platform the Key?," Discussion Papers 1238, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1238

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
    2. West, Joel & Mace, Michael, 0. "Browsing as the killer app: Explaining the rapid success of Apple's iPhone," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5-6), pages 270-286, June.
    3. Joel West & Siobhan O'mahony, 2008. "The Role of Participation Architecture in Growing Sponsored Open Source Communities," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 145-168.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:234-247 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kenji Kushida, 2011. "Leading without Followers: How Politics and Market Dynamics Trapped Innovations in Japan’s Domestic “Galapagos” Telecommunications Sector," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 279-307, September.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:734-:d:97388 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jörg Freiling, 2015. "Getting off the Track to Found – The Influence of Path Dependence on the Entrepreneurial Process (Zbaczajac z drogi ku zalozeniu przedsiebiorstwa – wplyw zaleznosci od szlaku na proces przedsiebiorczy," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 13(56), pages 13-37.
    5. Seppälä, Timo & Kenney, Martin, 2012. "Competitive Dynamics, IP Litigation and Acquisitions - The Struggle for Positional Advantage in the Emerging Mobile Internet," Discussion Papers 1288, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    6. Bryan Pon & Timo Seppälä & Martin Kenney, 2015. "One Ring to Unite Them All: Convergence, the Smartphone, and the Cloud," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 21-33, March.
    7. Sang-Gun Lee & Chang-Gyu Yang & Sin-Bok Lee & Jae-Beom Lee, 2015. "A study on the antecedents and consequences of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in web portal usage," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 9(3), pages 567-586, September.
    8. Rong, Ke & Hu, Guangyu & Lin, Yong & Shi, Yongjiang & Guo, Liang, 2015. "Understanding business ecosystem using a 6C framework in Internet-of-Things-based sectors," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 41-55.
    9. Gerpott, Torsten J. & Thomas, Sandra & Weichert, Michael, 2013. "Characteristics and mobile Internet use intensity of consumers with different types of advanced handsets: An exploratory empirical study of iPhone, Android and other web-enabled mobile users in German," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 357-371.
    10. Rong, Ke & Wu, Jinxi & Shi, Yongjiang & Guo, Liang, 2015. "Nurturing business ecosystems for growth in a foreign market: Incubating, identifying and integrating stakeholders," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 293-308.
    11. Heinrich, Torsten, 2015. "A Replicator Dynamic and Simulation Analysis of Network Externalities and Compatibility Among Standards," MPRA Paper 67198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:7:p:1234-1254 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:spr:infosf:v:16:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s10796-012-9356-y is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Kenji KUSHIDA & Jonathan MURRAY & John ZYSMAN, 2012. "The Gathering Storm: Analyzing the Cloud Computing Ecosystem and Implications for Public Policy," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(85), pages 63-85, 1st quart.
    15. Gyesik Oh & Yoo S. Hong, 0. "The impact of platform update interval on platform diffusion in a cooperative mobile ecosystem," Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-10.
    16. Mattila, Juri & Seppälä, Timo & Holmström, Jan, 2016. "Product-centric Information Management: A Case Study of a Shared Platform with Blockchain Technology," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series qt65s5s4b2, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
    17. repec:spr:scient:v:111:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2270-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sang-Gun Lee & Eui-bang Lee & Chang-Gyu Yang, 2014. "Strategies for ICT product diffusion: the case of the Korean mobile communications market," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 8(1), pages 65-81, March.
    19. Dan Breznitz & Martin Kenney & Petri Rouvinen & John Zysman & Pekka Ylä-Anttila, 2011. "Value Capture and Policy Design in a Digital Economy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 203-207, September.
    20. Julien Legrand & Pascal Le Masson & Maxime Thomas & Benoît Weil, 2017. "Rise And Fall Of Platforms: Systematic Analysis Of Platform Dynamics Thanks To Axiomatic Design," Post-Print hal-01630672, HAL.
    21. Kenji Kushida & Jonathan Murray & John Zysman, 2011. "Diffusing the Cloud: Cloud Computing and Implications for Public Policy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 209-237, September.

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    platforms; industry structure; smart phones; Android; iPhone;

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