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 8: Architectural openness: comparing five mobile platform architectures

Mohsen Anvaari and Slinger Jansen

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


Open source or proprietary strategy? Which is more effective? Which strategy has received more attention from the developers? Which leads to more groundbreaking applications? One can say the open source strategy is more successful due to its innovations and inventions (Paulson et al, 2004) and conversely, one can believe that the proprietary strategy is more successful because it will lead to more qualified applications due to strong governance. The reality, however, is not that black and white, especially when it comes to the software on the smartphones (mobile software platform). Considering a platform as open or closed is rarely a binary decision but is usually a question of “how open” (Maxwell, 2006). The answer to the question is related to the openness strategy of the platform. Openness strategy is the degree to which a platform supplier allows the platform users or developers to interact with the platform, extend or change its components. It depends on different technical, organizational and commercial aspects such as platform architecture, platform accessibility, platform transparency, licensing state, marketing policy, etc. Mobile software platform means the overall structure of the software on the mobile devices (Cho et al, 2007). The openness strategy is different among various mobile software platforms of smartphone ecosystems. A software ecosystem is “a set of actors functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them” (Jansen et al, 2009).

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