Michael Cusumano, SMR Distinguished Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
From Harvard Business Review
Platforms have become one of the most important business models of the 21st century. In our newly-published book, we divide all platforms into two types: Innovation platforms enable third-party firms to add complementary products and services to a core product or technology. Prominent examples include Google Android and Apple iPhone operating systems as well as Amazon Web Services. The other type, transaction platforms, enable the exchange of information, goods, or services. Examples include Amazon Marketplace, Airbnb, or Uber.
Five of the six most valuable firms in the world are built around these types of platforms. In our analysis of data going back 20 years, we also identified 43 publicly-listed platform companies in the Forbes Global 2000. These platforms generated the same level of annual revenues (about $4.5 billion) as their non-platform counterparts, but used half the number of employees. They also had twice the operating profits and much higher market values and growth rates.
Launched in 2009, the MSMS Program offers top MBA or master’s degree students from non-U.S. business schools an opportunity to enhance their expertise in specific management concentrations. Students can customize their curriculum by enrolling in MIT Sloan elective classes or electives in other MIT departments. They also can register for electives at Harvard University.