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 13: Open source ecosystems: a tale of two cases

Terhi Kilamo, Imed Hammouda, Tommi Mikkonen and Timo Aaltonen

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


The term ecosystem has emerged as a commonly-used notion in software economy (Messerschmitt and Szyperski, 2003). To put it simply, a software ecosystem comprises a set of businesses that function as a single unit, instead of each participating enterprise acting individually. Ecosystems often rely on a shared platform on top of which different parties contribute their own, company-specific innovations (Bosch, 2009). Then, the cost of developing the platform is shared by a number of companies, each of which is free to extend it with their own modules. Similarly, all the participants gain the benefits of joint investment in the platform. A platform used for establishing an ecosystem comprises numerous facets (Jansen et al, 2009). From the engineering perspective, a software ecosystem provides the technology for implementation, environment for the overall software project infrastucture and a development methodology that is aligned with the goals of the ecosystem. Additionally, for the ecosystem to foster, social, legal and business aspects must also be considered in addition to the technological perspective. Consequently, the ecosystem can be viewed as a business and governance model with marketing as one of the strategical advantages.

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