Article | Antitrust Bulletin

The Information Technology Ecosystem: Structure, Health, and Performance

by Marco Iansiti and Gregory L. Richards


A number of modern industries are organized as complex networks of firms whose integrated efforts are necessary to deliver value to end customers. The complexity of these networks, or business ecosystems, and the associated interdependencies among firms, make traditional antitrust market analysis difficult. The information technology (IT) industry today consists of a rapidly evolving and massively interconnected network of organizations, technologies, products, and consumers. In the IT ecosystem, the vast majority of organizations provide applications. To assess the health and competitiveness of business ecosystems, three aspects of ecosystem health inspired by their biological metaphor and expressed in terms of their ecosystem analogy: robustness, productivity, and innovation are used. In conclusion, the ecosystem appears to be working well and recovering from the financial excesses of the late 1990s. Software and hardware platforms are witnessing significant innovation and evolution, which is in turn fueling innovation in a broad variety of applications and business models.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Networks; Value; Customers; Performance Productivity; Product; Software; Innovation and Invention; Competition; Business Model; Hardware; Information Technology Industry;


Iansiti, Marco, and Gregory L. Richards. "The Information Technology Ecosystem: Structure, Health, and Performance." Antitrust Bulletin 51, no. 1 (Spring 2006).