Business models of software platforms

Business models in platform industries

- Spring term 2009 -


Method (hours per week): 2 hrs, block seminar

Course language:  English

Prerequisites:  Microeconomics course sequence in business or economics

Examination: oral presentation+slides, seminar paper

ECTS-Credits: 4 ECTS



Organizational meeting: Thursday, December 4th, 2008, 10:15 -13:30 h, at P 044, L 7, 3-5.

The seminar will take place on March 13 and March 14 (from 10:00 until 20:00 each day).

Registration: Registration prior to the start of the seminar is required. Interested students have to register at the secretary, Ms. Mamaç, Verfügungsgebäude L7, 3rd floor. The maximum number of students is 20.

Course description: In this seminar we analyze business models of software and internet platforms. To this end we focus on five industries/firms, e.g.: handheld devices, B2B platforms, Amazon MarketPlace, online contacting sites, scout24, online radio. Some reading material is provided; additional research by students is required and central for the success of the seminar.

Overview: The design of markets and the functioning of business models in software platform markets will be analyzed in selected industries or firms. As background reading one may want to consult the book “Invisible Engines” by David Evans, Andrei Hagiu and Richard Schmalensee, published by MIT Press, which can be downloaded for free after registration at the MIT Press web site. An important role to understand software and internet platforms is the theory of two-sided markets, which is elaborated informally in the above mentioned book and in additional reading material listed below.

Students will present their work during two full days. Most reading material and presentations are non-formal. Students are expected to make themselves familiar with the economics of platforms and to find information on the selected industries by their own research. This seminar is suited for students of business administration and economics. To register for this course students must have completed 2 years of undergraduate studies.



- Evans, David, Andrei Hagiu, and Richard Schmalensee (2006), Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries, MIT Press.

also helpful:

- Peitz, M. (2006), Marktplätze und indirekte Netzwerkeffekte, Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik.

- Evans, David (2003), Some Empirical Aspects of Multi-sided Platform Industries, Review of Network Economics 2, 191-209.

- Evans, David and Richard Schmalensee (2005), The Industrial Organization of Markets with Two-Sided Platforms, mimeo.