Platform Leadership: How Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco Drive Industry Innovation (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/4/29
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Based on lessons from successful high-technology platform leaders, this book explains the dynamics of these highly complex and interconnected processes and partnerships. It provides a study of how companies successfully become platform leaders - companies whose products provide the basic technological architecture on which other products and systems are built (such as the microprocessor and Windows Operating System). The authors discuss how platform producers encourage other firms to create complimentary innovations, orchestrate innovations and standards for an entire industry and deal with various internal and external tensions or conflicts that arise when implementing platform-leadership strategies.
Annabelle Gawer is Assistant Professor of Strategy and Management at INSEAD.
[Platform leader wannabes（プラットフォームリーダーを目指す企業]ということでNTTDoCoMoについての考察も少しあります。iModeを提唱しコンテンツベンダーを盛り上げよいサービスを提供し、日本の携帯業界のリーダーとなっているといった書き方がなされています。でも、iModeの前からDocomoは日本の携帯電話のリーダーだったわけですし、iModeでコンテンツベンダーを奨励するプラットフォームリーダーであることは認めますが、ではKDDIやJphoneのコンテンツはどうなのか触れていないのでちょっとDoCoMoの部分は納得できませんでした。
ハイテク産業におけるプラットフォーム争奪戦は古くはVHS vs ベータの戦いから有名だと思いますが、ゼロかイチかの大きい戦いだと思います。
Case studies are analyzed on how they used the "4 levers of Platform Leadership": 1) Scope of Firm, 2) Product Technology/Architecture, 3) Relationships with external complementors, and 4) Internal Organization.
Very well written.
The building a Platform is a cooperative effort with financial incentives associated with wealth sharing that are compelling. "The ability for an increased number of actors to innovate separately on different modules of systems is radically altering the nature and stability of relationships between firms that make core products and the developers of complementary products." For example, IBM platform of hardware and software was most internally development. When the PC Junior was introduced with the DOS operating system, external parties clone the hardware and DOS, not being contractual obligated to a hardware platform flourished. Intel's vision of a chipset, bus, usb, and graphic accelerator architecture provided the platform for thousands of software applications the leverage the benefits of standardization interfaces with hardware, sdks, and component reuse. A platform leader can benefit and maybe highly dependant on innovations developed at other firms. "No single company can replicate all the innovative capabilities of the market." "As a result, nearly all the platform leader we observed have had to work closely with other firms to create initial applications and then new generations of complementary products." Cooperation means getting a bigger piece of pie. Industries that center their business on platform products receive an increase in value of the platform as more incentives increase for complimentary products and this stimulates more people to buy or use the core product.
Scope of the firm: This lever deals with what the firm does internally and externally to produce complimentary components.
Product technology: Decisions regarding the architecture of the product and vision of the broader platform; decisions about modularity and the degree of openness of the interface, and how much information about the platform and its interfaces to disclose to outside firms.
Relationship with external complementors: The lever centers on determining how collaborative versus competitive should be the relationship be. Platform leaders need to be considered about gaining consensus with their partners and how to deal with potential conflicts of interest. "Decisions on the architecture or design of the product and on how to treat intellectual property tend to have a major impact on the incentives and ability of external firms to innovate".
Internal organization: The issue of culture and process is at issue. There needs to exist an internal atmosphere that encourage debate and accelerates the strategy reformulations that may become necessary.
Platforms discussed: Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Palm, Linux, NTT, and DoCoMo.
It is easier to gain a market if your interests are aligned around a platform that is well organized. At the same time, the large platform leaders she cites (Intel, Microsoft, Cisco) are hardly benevolent organizations....so it seems that a small degree of skepticism should accompany accepting anything that the 'platform leader' offers. This look at what leadership means is very enlightening, and made me wonder how open source solutions can succeed without a change in tactics.
The book starts by presenting four levers that companies can use to become leaders. The four levers are (as described in the review above):
1. Determine the scope of the firm
2. Design product technology strategically
3. Shape relationships with external complementors
4. Optimize internal organizational structures
The authors carefully analyze the rise of Intel as an industry leader and show how Intel chose to position the levers. This part of the book is worth 5 stars. The research was done in depth with many interviews of Intel managers. The analysis is insightful. I particularly liked the explanation of Intel's failure to enter some markets (video conferencing).
The authors then go on to show how other companies have achieved industry leadership. This is where the book starts to unravel. The research is skimpy, with pages after pages of copies of PR announcements. The analysis sections are short and often a repeat of the PR. There is very little of value.
Worse, it seems that every company sets the levers differently: some limit their scope (Intel) but others do not (Microsoft). Some are fully integrated (Microsoft) but others are a patchwork of small units (CISCO). In brief, it seems that the levers are irrelevant to the success as a platform leader.
Since the authors cannot detect a pattern to industry leadership they end up with a weak conclusion: becoming a platform leader requires a company to realize that it needs to influence partners. While this is true and in some ways insightful (how many companies do forget this piece of advice?), I cannot help but being disappointed by the book.
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