Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Big Digital Platforms

van der Aalst, Wil
Weinhardt, Christof
Volume: 61
Number: 6
Pages: 645 - 648
Month: December
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2019

In recent years we have witnessed the rise of the platform economy. The world’s most valuable public companies are five American technology firms: Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook. These companies are closely followed by Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and Xiaomi, and many more US-based internet companies such as Netflix, eBay, Uber, Salesforce, and Airbnb. Most of these organizations are young (Apple and Microsoft being the adolescents) and were able to grow extremely fast due to the digital platforms they provide. The most common types of platforms are transaction platforms that match supply and demand (e.g., Amazon, Alibaba, Airbnb, Uber, and Baidu). Other examples are technology platforms that provide a technical infrastructure that other people can build upon (e.g., Microsoft’s software platform and the App stores of Google and Apple). These digital platforms have radically changed the way we work, do business, socialize, learn, move, produce, etc. Such platforms can be found in any domain, ranging from learning (e.g., Coursera, EdX, Udacity, and FutureLearn) to smart homes (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google Assistant, Philips Hue, and Samsung SmartThings). The rise of these digital platforms is highly relevant for BISE (Business & Information Systems Engineering) authors and readers, because they combine new business models with technological innovations (e.g., machine learning).