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The emergence of the mobile internet in Japan and the UK:\ud platforms, exchange models, and innovation 1999‐2011

By Patrik Kärrberg


In 1999 Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo launched arguably the world’s first successful\ud mobile Internet services portal called “i‐mode”. In Europe at the same time a series of failures\ud diminished the opportunities to attract customers to the mobile Internet. Even though similar\ud Internet technologies were available in Japan and the UK, very different markets for services\ud developed during the initial years 1999‐2003. When the West expected Japanese firms to\ud become dominant players in the mobile digitalisation of services during the introduction of 3G\ud networks, it remained instead a national affair. The dominant views of how markets for mobile\ud services operated seemed flawed.  \ud So‐called delivery platforms were used to connect mobile phones with service contents that were\ud often adapted from the PC world. Designing and operating service delivery platforms became a\ud new niche market. It held a pivotal role for the output of services and competition among\ud providers.  \ud This thesis sets out to answer a set of inter‐related questions: How and where did firms innovate\ud in this new and growing part of the service economy and how are new business models mediated\ud by service delivery platforms? It argues that innovation in the digitalised economy is largely\ud influenced by firms achieving platform leadership through coordination of both technological\ud systems and the creation of multi‐sided exchanges.\ud This thesis demonstrates from cases of multi‐sided markets in operator‐controlled portals, of\ud mobile video and TV and of event ticketing in Japan and the UK that defining the scope of the\ud firm on the network level forms the basis for incremental innovation, the dominant form of\ud service innovation. A parallel focus on coordinating platform technology choices forms the basis\ud for firms to trade fees, advertisements, and user data, enabling control over profitable parts of\ud multi‐sided value networks

Topics: HE Transportation and Communications, QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Year: 2011
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Provided by: LSE Theses Online

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