Author Kibae Kim, Jorn Altmann
Following a new innovation strategy, software vendors move their software onto their software service platforms and open up their platforms to third-party software service vendors. Although many studies state that enlarging the scope of software service offerings is the goal of the platform providers, only a few studies have focused on the roles that the platform providers take on to achieve the goal. These studies identified that the platform providers not only manage the platform but also promote and regulate third-party software. In this article, we extend this research by analyzing the activities of how platform providers promote innovation. For the analysis, we use empirical data about software services gathered from AppExchange of Salesforce. The analysis identifies the clusters and positions of software services of Salesforce and third-party vendors in the software service network. Our analysis results show that Salesforce promotes innovation by provisioning software services that are in core positions or that are bridges between service clusters. Third-party vendors release software services that are complementary to those of Salesforce. Overall, the results suggest that platform providers need to position strategically their software services to build successful software ecosystems, and that research on innovation needs to analyze the roles and efforts of the platform providers in detail.