Competing on a Common
Platform: A Research Project
February 28, 2005
Why This Project? Why Now?
Many individually founded open source projects fail (Healy and
Most projects that succeed in producing commercial grade
software do so with intense commercial support
Many firms have experimented with some elements of
community managed open source projects
Producing a range of hybrid models that vary in their plurality
But, there has been no research on hybrid models, how they
are created, managed and sustained
How do sponsors of a common platform decide what to
contribute to the platform?
How do sponsors value the costs and benefits of
working with a shared platform?
What institutional structures support competition?
How do projects manage the multilateral contributions of
competitors to create vendor neutral innovation?
How do committers manage their dual allegiance to
project and firm?
Phase I: (February – March, 2005) - Interview EMO,
strategic members, and select sample of add-in providers
Phase II: (June – August, 2005) – Study selected
subprojects with committer interviews, observation/site
visits to committer development teams, and study online
Phase III: (September – November, 2005) – Analyze
contribution pattern data within top level projects and
across the projects hosted by the foundation, conduct
Not all sponsors compete directly- are there
interesting differences between different types of
Sponsors use the platform for different purposes –
and thus may be competing with the platform, as
opposed to ‘on’ the platform - thus timing of
contributions is critical
Each sponsor has had a different concern with
respect to ‘coopetition’ which has affected the design
of the foundation and management structure - the
design of the mgmt infrastructure may be more
robust as a res