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Keywords:

  • platform;
  • platform leadership;
  • industry architecture;
  • architectural advantage;
  • value creation;
  • value appropriation;
  • mobile telephony industry

Abstract What factors and processes drive value appropriation and value creation in interdependent industry ecosystems? This paper explores this issue through a case study comparing the deployment of the i-mode mobile Internet service in two countries, seeking the reasons behind its contrasting fortunes: spectacular success in Japan vs failure in Europe. The comparison between network operators NTT Docomo in Japan and KPN in the Netherlands suggests that differences in the underlying industry architectures explain why similar platform strategies led to such different outcomes. The paper contributes to the literature on industry architecture by unpacking the interaction between evolutionary processes, industry architecture, and business strategies. It also contributes to the platforms literature, by positing that firms' ability to successfully pursue platform strategies depends on industry architecture.