Communications of the Association for Information Systems


In this paper we explore how platforms emerge and evolve due to independent actions by companies providing them or launching products on them. We use the software industry as the setting for our study. We analyze the pattern of evolution for Windows, Unix, and Linux over 14 years. Based on this, we derive some lessons for companies aspiring to compete in settings where platforms and complementors play a major role. We support our analysis using visualizations. PLEASE NOTE: This is a very large article, over 1 MB in size.