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From platform dominance to weakened ownership: how external regulation changed Finnish e-identification

Anar Bazarhanova (), Jesse Yli-Huumo () and Kari Smolander ()
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Anar Bazarhanova: Aalto University
Jesse Yli-Huumo: Aalto University
Kari Smolander: Aalto University

Electronic Markets, 2020, vol. 30, issue 3, No 8, 525-538

Abstract: Abstract Background There is substantial interest among scholars in digital platforms and the ecosystems around them. Digital platforms are open, continuously evolving, sociotechnical structures that can be sensitive to various changes. Aim We take one-step further and investigate the post-dominance phase of platforms. The electronic identification (eID) ecosystem in Finland provides a good example of ecosystem transformation due to external changes from EU and national regulation. Method We engage in an extensive case study of a nation-wide monopolistic eID platform. We first take a retrospective view to understand the historical context and then examine in detail how an external driver leads to changes in the ecosystem. Results We explicate the platform evolution process, from a phase of dominance with centralized control structures to a more federated governance approach. We find that the introduction of intermediaries between the platform and its users contributes to a weakening of the dominant platform owners. Conclusion This finding that platforms can transform into industry infrastructures has an important implication for our understanding of the dynamics underlying digital platforms.

Keywords: Industry platforms; Platform ecosystems; Platform evolution; Platform dominance; Digital infrastructrues (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O3 L (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s12525-019-00331-4

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