Here’s another interesting way in which restrictiveness plays a role in competitive outcomes. The Apple approval process for new apps has a reputation for arbitrary decisions that can delay the launch of a service. In contrast, the Android platform has no process at all, which makes it easier to distribute applications. On first look that seems to suggest that less restrictiveness is a vertical trait favoring Android.
First looks are deceiving. Apple also controls iTunes, which reaches a huge audience. That audience hesitates to go anywhere else – in part, because the approval process keeps everything on iTunes clean, reliable, and within predictable bounds. In other words, the rules that developers dislike create a platform that users like.
Und eine Plattform, die Usern ‚gefällt‘, wird wiederum für Entwickler attraktiv.
Beschränkungen von Plattformen, wie die 30-Prozent-Abgabe bei Einnahmen von iOS-Apps, können ebenfalls unterschiedliche Folgen haben:
Restrictiveness can also yield unpredictable results. For example, Apple’s requirement that it receive 30 percent of the revenue from any application sold on the iPhone has generated a range of clever application developer responses—to escape what many perceive to be an Apple tax. Some developers use subscriptions for their services and provide a free app, or simply charge more for other services and supplement with a free app. The key is to develop apps that enhance revenue opportunities off the smartphone.
Those examples all reinforce a broad point: the interplay between constituents shapes platform differentiation. It also means the usual intuition for competitive advantage has to adjust. You can see that confusion in analysis of platform competition for new online media—YouTube, Hulu, Apple TV, Google television, and so on. All the online platforms are trying to differentiate, but the content owners’ attempts to gain revenue through the exercise of copyright further shapes actions. It is no longer obvious how to generate the right features for a platform balancing all these partnerships. Analysts have not been able to predict winners and losers with any accuracy.
Die Welt der Konkurrenz und Kooperation von Plattformen wird komplexer und viele Einschätzungen von Journalisten oder Analysten beschränken sich noch auf zu wenige Aspekte, aus denen die Rückschlüsse gezogen werden. (Besonders in Deutschland kann praktisch fast jede Einschätzung von Internetplattformen in den Massenmedien getrost ignoriert werden.)
Where does that leave us? Platform competition has exploded in the last decade, and there is no end in sight to the interesting dynamics we should expect to see. Rarely will competitive outcomes between two platforms reduce to a simple comparison of one point of differentiation.
Gefragt sind Experten, die sich mit den quantitativ und qualitativ zunehmenden Interdependenzen dieser Plattformwelt kenntnisbringend auseinandersetzen.