So today, “platform” is the buzzword. Everything’s becoming a platform, allowing third parties to add value to what you produce. The more successful a platform is, the more apps are developers, the more users it attracts, the more data are generated, the better apps can be developed etc in a virtuous cycle. More users mean also more money (if you are Apple and sell iPhones) and more data mean more advertising revenues (if you are Facebook and sell advertising). Here’s a picture I drew to represent this virtuous (at least for some companies) cycle. The positive feedback mechanisms is also a problem for companies, and worlds regions, that do not manage to create successful platforms. In case you wonder, yes, I am referring to Europe and Nokia losing out to US players.

Here I list some examples of platforms at different layers:
– OS: most traditional, obviously any operative system is a platform, it allows programmers to develop tools through SDK. What is new is that this has extended to the mobile Operating Systems, which previously were closed

– Social Networking website: Facebook, and most other web 2.0 sites, allows developers to publish “apps” some of which become big hits like farmville, mostly through RestFUL APIs . Google tried to outopen Facebook through the open development platform OpenSocial, but with little success as far as I know

– Browsers: Firefox, as well as others, is well equipped with add-ons and plugins. Not sure how they are developed

– Desktop software: for example, Mendeley just launched the developers’ challenge to develop new apps on top of their platform through API.

– Enterprise software: SAP has a strong developers community

I’m sorry for not refining it, but this post is really just a note to myself, I will update it in the next weeks. If you have additional examples of different KIND of platforms, please add below. For example Arduino…