The Impact of Changes in Platform Control on Third Party Development in the Open Innovation Ecosystem


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Alexey SODNOMOV

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Awarding Institution
Award date9 Sep 2016


IT companies have to be flexible and adaptive if they are to survive in today’s competitive business environment. Platform-based ecosystems offer this competitive advantage, because they can enhance flexibility with add-ons provided by third party developers. To effectively react to market fluctuations, organizations also need to coordinate internal development.
One of the most effective and powerful mechanisms of organizational adaptation is formal authority (Khandwalla, 1973). Platforms offer a formal authority for coordinating the development processes of third parties. However, third party developers may undermine these coordination efforts.
For example, Mozilla recently changed the timing of the 4th major release of its Firefox web browser, in order to formalize and accelerate its timetable for major releases. Third parties may take that to be changing the rules of the development process. Platform management can also influence the independent developers in the ecosystem by changing the Application Program Interface (API). Existing developers would consider this to be a change in available tools.
This study develops an open innovation platform-based ecosystems framework that formalizes the factors that influence how third party developers react to the coordination efforts of platform management. The control theory perspective offers a lens for better understanding how release sequence formalization and changes in API influence independent developers. The nature of platform-based ecosystems allows us to analyse the interplay of market control with other types of control in a platform’s control portfolio.