University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

New Internet-Based Technology Ecosystems

Oestreicher, Klaus and Walton, Nigel (2012) New Internet-Based Technology Ecosystems. In: International Marketing Trends Conference, 19.-21.01.2012, Universita Ca Foscari, Venice.

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Marketing in today’s highly competitive environment needs to consider forces that go beyond most firms’ available resources and capabilities. Work by Adomavicius et al. (among others) regarding the differentiation between product – infrastructure – ecosystem has gained increasing importance over the last 30 years (2008). One result of this shifting power is expressed by the concept of convergent technologies. However, it seems too short-sighted to take this concept as the only consequence of external market forces that are threatening companies.

A recent observation relates to the practice of analysing companies within the context of strategic groups, industry structures and business models. This has become increasingly irrelevant since it only comprises a narrow view of a much bigger sphere of influence (which has been caused by modern technologies). What is now evolving is a new internet-based ecosystem threatening the traditional ecosystems of established firms. Once a company’s product or service is challenged by a (new) bigger or more pervasive ecosystem, there is often no defensive response. This can be seen by the invasion of the book and publishing industry, the Home Entertainment Industry and first signs are emerging that 3-D laser printers will threaten incumbents in the area of commodity products, especially those made of plastic. Even the personal computer, seen 35 years ago as the foundation of the new Internet-based technology ecosystem, could be under threat as consumers migrate to cloud computing using interoperable mobile devices.

However, these developments do not necessarily need the Internet as the primary link; they can use ICT as a facilitator of interaction and strategic orientation. This draws attention to another huge threat, which is created by German car manufacturer Volkswagen, which entered a strategic alliance with an alternative energy supplier (Lichtblick, Hamburg). Both companies have started to democratise electricity production by creating small units manufacturing electricity in a family home. The market response is already huge and incumbent energy suppliers have no viable response yet.

These shifting ecosystems may be considered as a new symbiosis, which will restructure the industrial landscape more and more, requiring a different approach to markets than the simple application of established (analytical) tools that have lost their relevance. An organisation can decide to either re-invent itself or - in the case of Microsoft - it can fill gaps in resources and capabilities through mergers and acquisitions or alliances. Although Microsoft has pursued a non-organic strategy in a variety of areas, such competence and resource shopping has not always been successful. Many of Microsoft’s approaches have failed to yield positive outcomes, which would suggest that the co-existence of an old ecosystem besides a new and stronger ecosystem cannot guarantee future success.
This paper is considered to be of importance since very little prior research has been undertaken and the work that was carried out tended to pre-date the inception and rapid growth of the Internet. It is therefore considered as a starting point for fundamental research using grounded theory with regard to the development of a new concept, which may help to explain the new competitive structures, which facilitate opportunities for small firms and increasingly provide obstacles for well-established corporations, which may find themselves in a position in which even their resources and capabilities will not be sufficient to withstand the power of newly emerged ecosystems.

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the factors which drive ecosystems, which make new ecosystems more viable than established ones and to help create foundations for better understanding of the influencing factors on the existing and future marketplace. Such influences are not only seen in economic but also in biological theory.

Keywords: Ecosystem, resources and capabilities, autopoiesis, innovation, competitive environment

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: ecosystem, resources and capabilities, autopoiesis, innovation, competitive environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Depositing User: Klaus Oestreicher
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2011 13:55
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 09:23

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