Apple and Amazon: Competing Ecosystems

Check out this excellent piece in HBR by Ron Adner on two of the Gang of Four. To me, the key piece is this:

In the rush to match the pieces, most of Apple’s rivals have missed the critical connections that draw the entire ecosystem together into a coherent whole.

In a word, yes!

Apple understands the power of the platform, the consumerization of IT, and the criticality of end-user experience. Of course, it’s not alone. Amazon, Facebook, and Google also get it–hence the collective success of the Gang of Four. Note, however (as the article does), that the model behind the Apple and Amazon platforms are very different. This underscores a major point in the book: there’s no one right way to build a platform.

Ecosystems are key here. Even if RIM develops sleek new product or the Nokia/Windows 8 phone rocks, are their apps any good? Ecosystems are arguably just as important as the products they support.



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