Platform Complexity: Lessons from Mobile Wireless

David Tilson, Carsten Sørensen, Kalle Lyytinen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Platforms provide anchor-points for the coordination of a varied set of activities within their associated ecosystems. The understanding of platform complexity is therefore an important concern within both academia and industry as it defines the range of activities made possible by the platform and the related aspects of control. This paper argues that the abstractions applied in the current platform research remove some of the most important features that underlie the inherent complexity of digital platforms. This argument is forwarded through a small study of platform complexity in the mobile wireless industry. Our exploration highlights some of the phenomena that a comprehensive theory of digital platforms must encompass. We believe that advancement of a theoretical perspective that embraces the complexity of digital platforms is needed to fully capture the strategic and technological implications of emerging digital platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Mobile Business, ICMB 2012 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 21 Jun 201222 Jun 2012
Conference number: 11


ConferenceInternational Conference on Mobile Business, ICMB 2012
Internet address


  • Digital platforms
  • mobile wireless industry
  • platform complexity

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