It's All About the Platform Now

Technology Industry and its Love Affair with Platforms

Robert Fabricant's article, The New Political Platforms ( in the September edition of Fast Company is certainly an excellent read. He compares the current platform battles in the smartphone landscape (Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone) with the way that political campaigns are run and covered. Here are a few quotes from the article that are spot on with the way technology companies are run these days:

  • "Platforms have become the political currency of the technology world"
  • "Platform strategy has become the new way technology companies set their agenda"
  • "A Platform can mean anything you like. It is only a rhetorical device"

As many of us know, there are platform battles all over the technology place besides the public competition of smartphones. For example,

  • Operating System - Windows, Mac OSX, Linux Distributions, UNIX, etc.
  • Hypervisor - HyperV, vSphere, XenServer, Xen, KVM, etc
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - Dynamics, Zoho, SAP, Intuit, Sugar CRM, etc.
  • Cloud [IaaS] - Amazon EC2/S3, Azure, vCloud, Eucalyptus, OpenStack, etc.
  • Video Games - Wii, PlayStation, xBox, etc.

When looking at these platforms we can clearly see the proprietary vendors as well as the open  source solutions within each category. (I don't know too much about video gaming systems so I am not sure which of those systems run Linux or other open source software) This basic list does show me that open source is competitive in all the significant platform "races" currently underway which is of course critical to the overall success of the open source movement. For comments this week, let me know of a platform that exists today without an open soure competitive product? I have been unable to think of one.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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