Information intensive, platform businesses account for an increasing share of the global economy. They also account for considerable innovation. The multi-party nature of platform ecosystems, however, implies that businesses must organize for decentralized innovation. In platform industries, even the biggest firms can no longer innovate alone. Gawer (2009) provides a useful definition: “Industry platforms are products, services or technologies that are developed by one or several firms, and which serve as foundations upon which other firms can build complementary products, services or technologies.”
Platform companies are now a major force in the global economy as can be seen by the dominance of software firm Microsoft and the rise of platform firms such as Apple, Facebook, and Google. Platform firms have begun to reshape traditional industries, such as the world’s posts, by harnessing existing users and providing substitute services such as “e-boxes” that bypass physical delivery.