Change and Control Paradoxes in Mobile Infrastructure Innovation: The Android and iOS Mobile Operating Systems Cases

David Tilson*, Carsten Sørensen, Kalle Lyytinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The advent of the smartphone as a highly complex technology has been accompanied by mobile operating systems (OS), large communities of developers, diverse content providers, and increasingly complex networks, jointly forming digital infrastructures. The multi-faceted and relational character of such digital infrastructures raises issues around how change and control can be conceptualized and understood. We discuss how change and control are paradoxically related in digital infrastructures and how they affect the evolution of such infrastructures. We examine these paradoxes by examining the change in, and competition between, two mobile operating systems: Apple's iOS and Google's Android along with their related platform features and ecologies. We seek to validate a proposed theoretical framework of the dynamics of change and control through second-order analysis of the two cases. We observe that multiple factors had a significant effect on the evolution of these platforms including user interface, development platforms, business models, and value extraction principles. We observe how these factors significantly affect the evolution of mobile platform ecologies as well as speculate about the future of mobile system platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 45th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-45
EditorsRalph H. Sprague
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationLos Alamitos, CA
PublisherIEEE Computer Society Press
Publication date2012
Article number6148683
ISBN (Print)9780769545257
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2012 - Maui, United States
Duration: 4 Jan 20127 Jan 2012
Conference number: 45


Conference2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
SponsorUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences


  • Mobile operating system
  • Android
  • Apple
  • iOS
  • Digital infrastructures
  • Paradoxes of change and control

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