Module Note | August 2007

Managing Networked Businesses: Platform Evolution Module

by Thomas R. Eisenmann


Offers an overview of conceptual content and pedagogical guidance for instructors using a six-session module, "Platform Evolution," from "Managing Networked Businesses" (MNB), a case-based MBA elective course on platform-mediated networks. The module explores the competitive dynamics of platform evolution and the management challenges that it poses, with a focus on three strategies: envelopment, interoperability, and licensing. With envelopment, one platform provider enters another's market with a multi-platform bundle, potentially seizing platform leadership from its target. With interoperability, previously incompatible but well established rivals relax restrictions on cross-platform transactions. With licensing, a firm that formerly served as sole source of platform goods and services licenses additional providers to harness their innovation and marketing capabilities.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Networks; Business or Company Management; Rights; Business Strategy; Problems and Challenges; Multi-Sided Platforms; Market Transactions; Innovation and Invention; Marketing; Competition; Market Entry and Exit;


Eisenmann, Thomas R. "Managing Networked Businesses: Platform Evolution Module." Harvard Business School Module Note 808-063, August 2007.