Towards a multi-criteria decision support method for consumer electronics software ecosystems
Journal article, 2016
Many consumer electronics firms are adopting an ecosystem-centric approach for supporting third-party applications. In an emerging market, a consumer electronics firm may need to create a new ecosystem or adopt a newly developed platform, both which has significant commercial and technical implications. In this paper we identify three types of ecosystems that are used today: vertically integrated hardware/software platforms, closed-source software platforms, and open-source software platforms. We introduce a first step towards a multi-criteria decision support method, which determines what type of ecosystem is most suitable for a specific product category from a software engineering perspective. We use this method to analyze a wide range of consumer electronics products. The analysis shows that the vertically integrated platform type is most suitable for product with a high degree of innovation, and open-source software platforms are more suitable when a large amount of variants are needed. The closed-source software platform type is less suitable for most types of consumer electronics devices. This first step towards a full-fledged decision support method can be used by platform owners to decide whether their platform can also be successfully transferred to another product type.