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 15: Unraveling Ruby ecosystem dynamics: a quantitative network analysis

Jaap Kabbedijk and Slinger Jansen

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


A software vendor’s success is not just determined by the quality or usage statistics of a software product they produce, but by all parties, products and services related to the product and adding value to it. The total success of a software product is determined by the sum of all additional products based on, or having a relationship with, the software product. The Android mobile phone operating system for example, has a limited value as a product on its own. The overall value of Android is determined by all the applications, products and services depending on Android. In the case of Android, a lot of different applications, books or music are offered through Google Play, the app-store used by Google, products which are produced by numerous organizations and parties around the world. This network of all products, companies and services working together in one big network is called a Software Ecosystem. The term Software Ecosystem (SECO) was first coined by Messerschmitt and Szyperski in 2005 (Messerschmitt and Szyperski, 2005), but it took until 2009 before a clear definition was formed by Jansen, Finkelstein and Brinkkemper (Jansen et al, 2009), who define a SECO as “a set of businesses functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them”. “Making profit from your software product” became “making profit using your software ecosystem” (Popp and Meyer, 2010).

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