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New Frontiers in Open Innovation$
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Henry Chesbrough, Wim Vanhaverbeke, and Joel West

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682461

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682461.001.0001

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Challenges of Funding Open Innovation Platforms

Challenges of Funding Open Innovation Platforms

Lessons from Symbian Ltd.

(p.71) 4 Challenges of Funding Open Innovation Platforms
New Frontiers in Open Innovation

Joel West

Oxford University Press

A key idea of open innovation is that multiple firms must often cooperate to create value for customers. Research inside and outside of open innovation has considered various network forms of cooperation, including alliances, networks, communities, consortia, ecosystems, and platforms. In particular, some ICT products rely on the collaboration of ecosystems and platforms to support their value creation (West, 2006; Gawer, 2009). Research has rarely considered this challenge in the context of a startup company. While Teece (1986) encourages such firms to partner to obtain distribution, manufacturing, and other key complementary assets, practical challenges remain. Here, the context is Symbian Ltd., a U.K. software company that during its 10-year existence created the world’s most successful smartphone platform. Funded by leading handset makers, it gained instant legitimacy and leveraged their resources and access to customers—but was hobbled by their conflicting roles as Symbian’s owners and primary customers. In the face of competition from the iPhone and Android, it was acquired by Nokia in 2008 and then later abandoned. From this, the chapter suggests broader insights into open innovation platform competition, the challenges of startups managing a complex ecosystem and the importance of funding new platform development by platform chaining from an existing revenue stream.

Keywords:   platform development, open innovation, entrepreneurship, mobile phones, ecosystems, complementary assets, startup companies

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