Abstract

A small number of dominant firms are increasingly controlling critical platforms. Critical platforms do not represent commodities; in contrast, they are critical to the global economy and social welfare, and they can threaten national competitiveness and sovereignty. For the European Union (EU), it is crucial to develop critical platforms to avoid the risk of exploitation by dominant platforms. Moreover, to gain control over critical platforms, the EU explores regulatory, as well as market-driven strategies, such as European consortia. The phenomenon of European platform consortia helps to understand better (1) the perspective of dominated economies, (2) how platforms emerge in cross-national collaborations, and (3) if joint forces can compete with dominant platforms. Consequently, we conduct a case study with two European consortia. Further, we draw on actor-network theory to describe how the interactions between technology and human processes shape the emergence and maintenance of the consortia and how these interactions shape the outcome of the development of the platform. Our preliminary results demonstrate how focal actors identified the problems that prompted the introduction of the consortia and how they identified and approached relevant actors for enrollment. Also, we discuss differences between both cases and outline future research.

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