Book on Software Ecosystems now Available!

Software Ecosystems: Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry

Edited by Slinger Jansen, Assistant Professor of Organisation and Information, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, Sjaak Brinkkemper, Professor of Organisation and Information, Utrecht University, The Netherlands and Michael A. Cusumano, Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, MIT Sloan School of Management, US

This book describes the state-of-the-art of software ecosystems. It constitutes a fundamental step towards an empirically based, nuanced understanding of the implications for management, governance, and control of software ecosystems. This is the first book of its kind dedicated to this emerging field and offers guidelines on how to analyze software ecosystems; methods for managing and growing; methods on transitioning from a closed software organization to an open one; and instruments for dealing with open source, licensing issues, product management and app stores. It is unique in bringing together industry experiences, academic views and tackling challenges such as the definition of fundamental concepts of software ecosystems, describing those forces that influence its development and lifecycles, and the provision of methods for the governance of software ecosystems.

This book is an essential starting point for software industry researchers, product managers, and entrepreneurs.

Contributors: T. Aaltonen, T.A. Alspaugh, C. Alves, M. Anvaari, H.U. Asuncion, O. Barbosa, S. Biffl, S. Brinkkemper, M.A. Cusumano, E. den Hartigh, D. Dhungana, R.P. dos Santos, A. Finkelstein, M. Goeminne, I. Groher, I. Hammouda, S. Jansen, A. Jiménez Salas, J. Kabbedijk, M. Kauppinen, T. Kilamo, Y.-R. Li, L. Luinenburg, T. Mens, T. Mikkonen, K.M. Popp, W. Scacchi, E. Schludermann, J. Souer, M. Tol, J. van Angeren, G. van Capelleveen, M. Viljainen, W. Visscher, C. Werner

June 2013 360 pp Hardback 978 1 78195 562 8 $145.00 • Elgaronline 978 1 78195 563 5

For sale at:


Software Ecosystem Health Check @ Universiteit Utrecht

Because of the intended Dutch audience, the following post is written in Dutch.

Om strategische beslissingen te maken moet een softwarebedrijf kennis hebben over het ecosysteem waarin het opereert. De Universiteit Utrecht doet onderzoek naar deze software ecosystemen en de strategische beslissingen waarmee een bedrijf succesvoller kan worden.
De Universiteit Utrecht voert regelmatig Software Ecosystem Health Scans uit, waarbij gekeken wordt of uw bedrijf en de ecosystemen waarin het actief is op een gezonde wijze functioneren. Uw bedrijf krijgt vervolgens de mogelijkheid om de kansen binnen het ecosysteem te exploreren en evalueren. Aan de hand van de scan wordt een adviesrapport opgesteld met daarin concrete implementeerbare maatregelen waarmee een bedrijf haar strategische positie kan verbeteren en kan groeien met de “power of many”.


Om tot de juiste strategische beslissingen te komen en de effecten te overzien, stelt de Universiteit Utrecht een aantal vragen om tot de kern van de mogelijkheden van een software ecosysteem te komen. De volgende vragen worden daarbij onder andere gesteld:

  • Welke rol vervult uw bedrijf binnen de ecosystemen waarin u actief bent?
  • Welke beslissingen kan u nemen om ‘opener’ te worden zonder intellectueel eigendom prijs te geven?
  • Wat zijn de sterke en zwakke punten van uw bedrijf binnen het ecosysteem?
  • Hoe innovatief is het ecosysteem?
  • Hoe zien klanten en partners van uw bedrijf het ecosysteem en de rol van uw bedrijf daarin?

De toegepaste onderzoeksmethoden zijn onder andere enquêtes, boardroom meetings, business model evaluaties, en het modelleren en analyseren van het softwarenetwerk.


Uit eerdere onderzoeken is gebleken dat de resultaten een goed inzicht geven in de situatie en mogelijkheden van uw bedrijf. Sterke en zwakke concurrenten worden geïdentificeerd, bedreigingen en kansen worden aangewezen, en vermoedens over klant en partnerperceptie worden bevestigd. Specifiek resulteert het onderzoek in een adviesrapport aangaande het ecosysteem en de manier waarop het softwarebedrijf het ecosysteem naar eigen inzicht kan gebruiken voor groei, nieuwe klanten, en strategische keuzes. In het rapport wordt specifiek aandacht besteed aan software ecosysteemrol en positionering, kansen en bedreigingen in het ecosysteem voor het productportfolio en platforms, klant- en partnerperceptie van het softwarebedrijf, openheidsevaluatie van de processen van het softwarebedrijf, en de identificatie kansen en bedreigingen concurrenten.
Het rapport wordt toegelicht met een uitgebreide presentatie door de Universiteit Utrecht. Drie en zes maanden na de scan en het opleveren van het rapport worden geïmplementeerde maatregelen geëvalueerd. De healthscans zijn per direct beschikbaar en kosten zijn afhankelijk van de grootte van het onderzoek.

Neem gerust contact op met mij (, Dr. Slinger Jansen of Prof. Dr. Sjaak Brinkkemper voor meer informatie of om een Software Ecosystem Health Check aan te vragen voor uw bedrijf.

Zie ook de Software Ecosystem Health Check Flyer.

Ubuntu switching to Unity, what does this mean?

Ubuntu is currently the most popular Open Source operating system and estimations indicate a total market share of 10% in the desktop market (same size as Apple’s OSX). All applications implemented in Ubuntu share this same usage and changes in the implemented applications could mean a lot for the ecosystem around Ubuntu. An insight in the current situation around changes in Ubuntu is provided below by Wilbert Seele. Wilbert is the current Commissioner for External Relations for Sticky, the association for students in Informatics and Information Science at Utrecht University and is currently researching the ecosystem around open source desktop environments.

Ubuntu switching to Unity, what does this mean?

Ubuntu UnityThe Ubuntu management recently announced that Ubuntu 11.04 (“Natty Narwhal”) will use a variant of the Unity desktop as the standard. The Unity desktop was recently released for use with netbooks, and was developed to maximize screenspace and ease-of-use on smaller screens.

Unity however is not without it’s detractors. Criticism has been given for the use of Mutter for it’s window compositing, which is being developed as part of the greater GNOME 3.0 project. Mutter in it’s current state suffers from various performance problems, which resulted  in a not too warm welcome in the netbook ecosystem. When Unity was announced as the default for the desktop version, many were quick to point this out.

Quite unexpectedly though, the Ubuntu management announced they would be dropping Mutter in favor of Compiz, citing greater stability and performance as the main reasons. Compiz is well known in the Linux scene for being a OpenGL-driven 3D window compositor, and being well, quite impressive visually. It suffered however from being a “project without a cause”, due to most desktop environments having their own window compositors (KWin for KDE and Metacity for GNOME). With recents events however, it received a massive boost in usage, funding and developers (Compiz developers have been hired by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu developers themselves will commit code upstream).

So what does all this mean for the various ecosystems?

Ubuntu is differentiating itself in the Linux ecosystem. While various differences with other distro’s already existed, such as the “Me Menu” and the Software Center, effectively users used the same GNOME environment as in Fedora or Debian. With the move to Unity they are offering users a completely different user-experience, and thus further differentiating themselves from the broader Linux ecosystem.

With Compiz now having the full support and backing of the most-used Linux distribution the project has moved from an enthousiast niche into the mainstream. We can expect development to be much faster, with a greater attention to stability.

Finally GNOME. With Ubuntu rejecting both the standard GNOME interface (and the future 3.0 interface as well) they were already moving away from the mainline project. With the rejection of Mutter they’ve rejected a major part of the back-end as well. By adopting Unity as the default desktop Ubuntu has effectively forked the parts of GNOME they wanted, and rejected the rest. What does this mean for GNOME? In terms of developers, not that much. The Ubuntu team have made relatively few commits upstream (the large majority comes from Red Hat). However, they will lose a major part of their userbase with this move, which may include future developers.


What is happening in SECO world? Issue 2

Last week we started with a series to keep you posted on the things happening related to software ecosystems. This week a lot of stuff happened in SECO world, but the news was dominated by the introduction of Web App Stores and the changes in the major phone platforms. Our selection of this week is:

Valve Pays Royalties for Fan-Created Items in TF2Valve Pays Royalties for Fan-Created Items in TF2

Ecosystems not only exist around phones or big software packages. Because of the possibility to create your own content for Team Fortress 2, a vibrant ecosystem also exists around this game. Valve is now trying to stimulate the ecosystem even more by rewarding big actors in the ecosystem. Wise choice in my opinion.



GetJar Rides a Rocket Thanks to Angry Birds

GetJar Rides a Rocket Thanks to Angry Birds

GetJar is an alternative repository to the Android Market and offers a wide variety of .jar files that can be installed on your Android phone. It was never really famous until the release of Angry Birds. A nice story on how one actor in the ecosystem can create profit for the entire ecosystem.


Web App Stores: How They Compare & Why They Will Be Big

Web App Stores: How They Compare & Why They Will Be Big

Last week Mozilla announced their upcoming Web App Store. Google is working on their own store. What will these two introductions mean for a possible new Web App ecosystem?


Skype Boots Nimbuzz, Tightens Grip On Ecosystem

Skype Boots Nimbuzz, Tightens Grip On Ecosystem

Some news from Holland. Nimbuzz is an application that enables a user to communicate through a lot of different services, using only one piece of software. Skype now made the decision to forbid Nimbuzz to use their service. Is this decision of Skype fair, or are they breaking down their ecosystem?


Symbian: A Lesson on the Wrong Way to Use Open Source

Symbian: A Lesson on the Wrong Way to Use Open Source

Symbian is almost dead. Nokia did try to rescue their product by opening up the source code, but in vain. The ecosystem is slowly dying and Symbian will probably not be developed further. What did Nokia do wrong in their use of open source?


These were my five SECO highlights of the past week. Tips on highlights are welcome and can be emailed to me. See you next week!

What is happening in SECO world?

The term “ecosystem” can be found more and more in Social Media, Technology and Business news. Some articles report the term literally, while others are talking about ecosystems but give it another name like “platform” or “community”. A lot is going on in Software Ecosystem world, but what exactly are the highlights of the last period? I will try to give a nice overview of what is happening in SECO world by providing links to articles that caught my eye the last couple of days.

World Bank IdeaWorld Bank Opens More Datasets, Challenges Developers to Build Apps

The term ecosystem is being used outside the technology world. The World Bank is even using the term in a competition they have to stimulate the creation of apps that use  the World Bank Data Catalog.


Google’s Android Market Neglect Opens Door for Amazon and Others

A typical example of how neglecting your ecosystem can lead to opportunities for competitors.




WSJ reports Facebook apps — including banned LOLapps games — transmitted private user data

LOLapps just lost 150 million (!) users, because Facebook banned LOLapps for violating the terms. Lesson to learn: “Don’t depend too much on one element in your platform”.




Do We Need a Global App Store for Feature Phones?

Especially in the mobile phone market we can see a few really large ecosystems (Android, Apple, etc), but there is an initiative to create one big central ecosystem for all phones. Do we need this and more important, will this work?



Mozilla Jumps into the App Store Game, But Can it Compete with Google?

Google is planning on launching the “Google Chrome Web Store”, an initiative to set up an internet app ecosystem. Mozilla want to join in this opportunity as well and has released a preview of its own “Open Web App Ecosystem”. Mozilla hopes Google will join in their initiative, but Google will probably go on and try to create its own.

What will the birth of these two new ecosystems give us?



Symbian Foundation director steps down as platform loses allies

Symbian is a good example of an ecosystem in decline. The director now steps out as well, since all partners are slowly going away and letting the ecosystem die…



I will try to give a similar overview of all SECO news next week again, so stay put!

Is Android Evil?

Please check out this blog entry about whether Android is evil, yes or no. It fits my view of openness nicely…