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Platform Leadership is a book by A. Gawer and M. Cusumano. I picked it up because Philip Greenspun (and others) praised the book on Amazon.com.
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.