Certain products, like the VCR and the microprocessor, are far more valuable as the center of a network of ancillary items than they ever could become on their own. Platform Leadership
, by Annabelle Gawer and Michael A. Cusumano, examines how a handful of firms has maximized this position--or are attempting to do so--and proposes a framework that other businesses can use to establish similar game plans. Combining original research with analysis that draws upon their experiences as professors specializing in high-tech strategy, Gawer and Cusumano focus on Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Palm, NTT DoCoMo, and supporters of the Linux operating system to show how to establish and expand this vital hub positioning. Their four-pronged approach concentrates on scope (what firms produce on their own and encourage others to produce), technology (how much detail about product architecture and design they should disclose to outsiders), alliances (how collaborative or competitive their relationships with those outsiders should be), and organization (what structures best balance subsequent external and internal conflicts). The examples selected illustrate varying methods for walking the fine line required to achieve "platform leadership" and will provide food for thought along with practical guidance for others interested in attaining similar status. --Howard Rothman
About the Author
Annabelle Gawer is Assistant Professor of Strategy and Management at INSEAD.