The authors spend most of the time doing case analysis of how Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Palm, DoCoMo and open-source movement established and maintained what authors call “platform leadership”. The study of Intel is most comprehensive, Palm DoCoMo and open-source are least extensively covered.
The most important lesson from the book is that making a platform (be it a microprocessor, operation system or a wireless service) has its own, unique challenges.
I was disappointed by the book. One reason is that it didn’t contain much information I didn’t already know. Another reason is that the book focuses on analysis but doesn’t give a lot of conclusions and the conclusions it gives are very general. To be fair: this inability to give prescriptions might be inherent in the problem.
After finishing the book I realized that it has little practical value for me (and probably most people). It’s intellectually stimulating to ponder the challenges of a platform vendor but very few people will be in a position to use any insight gained as there are very few successful platforms.