Product and system designers have long exploited opportunities to create families of complex artifacts by developing and recombining modular components. An especially common design pattern has come to be associated with the concept of a ‘platform’, which we define as a set of stable components that supports variety and evolvability in a system by constraining the linkages among the other components. Our goal in this chapter is to shed light on the relationships between platforms and the systems in which they are embedded, in order to better understand firms and industries where platforms play an important role. We begin by reviewing the use of the term ‘platform’ in three distinct but related fields: product development, technology strategy and industrial economics. Although the term is used in diverse ways that seem difficult to reconcile, we find a number of common threads – most importantly, the conservation or reuse of a core component to achieve economies of scale while reducing the cost of creating a wide variety of complementary components.
Computer Sciences | Systems Architecture
Information Systems and Management
Platforms, Markets and Innovation
BALDWIN, Carliss Y. and Woodard, C. Jason.
The Architecture of Platforms: A Unified View. (2009). Platforms, Markets and Innovation. 19-44. Research Collection School Of Information Systems.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sis_research/2452
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