Staying Power - the Power of Software Ecosystems
The business model of "platform + complements = ecosystem" is one of the best-scaling business models of today. It has been described by M. Cusumano in 2011 in his book "Staying Power". This book clearly shows why large US companies are successful today, and why many others, like German companies, loose markets. The book has taught me why Germany has not been able to win important IT platforms over the years: compilers, databases, web browsers, operating systems, everything went to the US. There is one single exception: the SAP products were, right from the beginning, planned as a platform with a software ecosystem of consultants, solution providers and plugin complementors.
Platforms create vendor-lock-ins, i.e., the ecosystem is dependent on the platform owner. Wars ("platform wars") are fought about platforms. Platforms can create enourmous large ecosystems with millions of "complementors".
If Germany wants to have success in IT, it should look at this business model.
Examples for ecosystems on monolithical platforms owned by a single company
- Apple and Google appstores - well, everybody knows
- Atlassian ecosystem (Jira, Confluence etc.)
Examples for ecosystems on monolithical platforms owned by several players
These ecosystems are more stable because if a platform owner dies, the platform still has a chance to survive: