Platform Roles in a Multi-Platform Strategy: Insights from Google

Klimmek, M., Hermes, S., Schreieck, M., & Krcmar, H. (2021). Platform Roles in a Multi-Platform Strategy: Insights from Google.


Single digital platform ecosystems have long been the focus of information systems (IS) research. However, corresponding theories do not explain how organizations operating multiple digital platforms function. We propose a conceptual model of a multi-platform strategy, which goes beyond the boundaries of single platforms and platform envelopment. We validate our model in a deductive single case study of Google. The findings confirm the existence of a core business underpinned by an integrated system of multiple digital platforms. Within a multi-platform strategy, platforms take different strategic roles to drive the core business: (1) Core platforms tend to have monopolistic market positions, generate a large share of the revenue, and are crucial for new market entries. (2) Support platforms have the primary task of defending the market positions of core platforms. (3) Growth platforms leverage the established positions of core and support platforms and extend the company’s operation into new markets.