Platform wars, concerns, and updates

Google has weathered many legal battles, spanning from disputes with the dating app company ‘Match’ to antitrust suits by Epic Games over illegal monopoly billing services, and that from the US Justice Department. Today marks a victory for both consumers and the States as Alphabet, the parent company, agrees to a $700 million settlement fund. However, the saga of the ‘platform wars’ is far from over, as other large platform-based firms due to their ‘exclusive right’ may face similar inevitable legal challenges or be impacted by state-imposed policies.  There is also a possibility that developers or complementors with sufficient resources may choose to establish their own platforms.

Digital platform-based businesses have a significant impact on a nation’s development, creating economic opportunities, providing a fair playing field for businesses, facilitating access to international markets, enhancing brand visibility, and improving internal and external communication, among other benefits. Nevertheless, leveraging these advancements presents challenges, requiring firms to consider its dynamic capabilities, national digital infrastructure, and regulatory frameworks, among other issues. It is interesting to observe how developed economies navigate and influence policies to protect complementors and consumers in a rapidly evolving ecosystem, a situation not mirrored in developing economies grappling with macro-economic factors. These economies must design, develop, or update their institutional frameworks to capture and support advancements in the platform economy.

In another platform-related news, Jumia Technologies has announced the closure of its food delivery business in seven countries. Jumia attributes this decision to challenging macro-economic conditions, optimising capital, and resource allocation, and ensuring a safe path to profitability. The company also cites stiff competition in the segment from other international players.  Amidst all these, I couldn’t but recall my experiences using this platform; some were good, others trailed with complaints as there were lags in delivery, communication etc. It is disheartening to witness Jumia Food, an entity supportive of small-scale food vendors and a driver of national employment through its value chain, cease operations.

On a personal note, I am excited to announce that my research will be looking into these emerging topics in a comparative approach: “How digitalisation shapes the outcomes and processes of internationalising SMEs.” This research aims to cover digital platforms, the roles of innovation districts, intermediaries, and policymakers in  platform-based internationalisation of SMEs.

P.S.: If you have great ideas or interesting facts to share on these topics, feel free to drop a message!


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