Software Ecosystems

Software Ecosystems

Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry

Edited by Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper and Michael Cusumano

This book describes the state-of-the-art of software ecosystems. It constitutes a fundamental step towards an empirically based, nuanced understanding of the implications for management, governance, and control of software ecosystems.

Chapter 2: Business network management as a survival strategy

Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper and Anthony Finkelstein

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, strategic management, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


Software vendors no longer function as independent units that can deliver separate products, but have become dependent on other software vendors for vital software components and infrastructures, such as operating systems, libraries, component stores, and platforms. Due to rapidly changing technology, software vendors resort to virtual integration through alliances to establish networks of influence and interoperability (Iyer et al, 2006). These networks are called Software Ecosystems (SECOs), a concept that has become vital in explaining the life and death of software vendors and their technologies. There are currently several different definitions of the term SECOs. Kittlaus and Clough (2009) define a SECO as an informal network of (legally independent) units that have a positive influence on the economic success of a software product and benefit from it. Bosch defines a SECO as consisting of the set of software solutions that enable, support, and automate the activities and transactions by the actors in the associated social or business ecosystems and the organizations that provide these solutions (Bosch, 2009). Three concepts stand out: (1) actors, organizations and businesses, (2) networks and social or business ecosystems, and (3) software. In our definition we unify the concept of actors, organizations, and businesses into actors. Concepts such as networks and social or business ecosystems only obfuscate the definition, such that sub-definitions are required.

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