Case study on napster information technology essay

Public Domain Peter B. On some confusing bits:

Case study on napster information technology essay

But the exact nature of that change will be determined by the social, political, and business choices we make. A digital platform economy is emerging. Companies such as Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, and Uber are creating online structures that enable a wide range of human activities.

Case study on napster information technology essay

This opens the way for radical changes in how we work, socialize, create value in the economy, and compete for the resulting profits. Their effects are distinct and identifiable, though certainly not the only part of the rapidly reorganizing global economy. As the work by Michael Cusumano, Annabelle Gawer, and Peter Evans has shown, these digital platforms are multisided digital frameworks that shape the terms on which participants interact with one another.

The initial powerful information technology IT transformation of services emerged with the Internet and was, in part, a strategy response to intense price-based competition among producers of relatively similar products.

IT-enabled services transformation, as our Case study on napster information technology essay Stuart Feldman, Kenji Kushida, Jonathan Murray, and Niels Christian Nielsen have argued in other venues, was based on the application of an array of computable algorithms to myriad activities, from consumption and leisure to services and manufacturing.

The movement of these algorithms to the cloud, where they can be easily accessed, created the infrastructure on which, and out of which, entire platform-based markets and ecosystems operate.

These digital platforms are diverse in function and structure. Google and Facebook are digital platforms that offer search and social media, but they also provide an infrastructure on which other platforms are built.

Amazon is a marketplace, as are Etsy and eBay. Amazon Web Services provides infrastructure and tools with which others can build yet more platforms. Airbnb and Uber use these newly available cloud tools to force deep changes in a variety of incumbent businesses.

Together they are provoking reorganization of a wide variety of markets, work arrangements, and ultimately value creation and capture. This digitally based new economy has been given a variety of names derived from some of its perceived attributes. How we label this transformation matters because the labels influence how we study, use, and regulate these digital platforms.

Its boosters have called it the Creative Economy or the Sharing Economy, whereas those less convinced of its beneficence have dubbed it the Gig Economy, the Precariat, or the Economy, focusing on its impact on workers and how they are compensated.

And there are wide variations within these labels. Consider the Shared Economy.

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Examples include Uber and Airbnb, which are very distant from the visions of Wikipedia, with its communal construction of knowledge; from Napster, which shared music regardless of whether it was legal; or from open source software creations such as Linux and Apache.

Indeed, the advantage of platform-based companies often rests on an arbitrage between the practices adopted by platform firms and the rules by which established companies operate, which are intended to protect customers, communities, workers, and markets.

Lyft and Airbnb are entrepreneurial initiatives that facilitate the conversion of consumption goods such as automobiles and apartments into goods that are monetized. In the current manifestation of putting out, the platform operator has unprecedented control over the compensation for and organization of work, while still claiming to be only an intermediary.

On the other hand, the rapidly growing mobile phone app stores and user-generated content platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are structured as digital consignment industries, borrowing from the way artists sell their work through galleries.

We are in the midst of a reorganization of our economy in which the platform owners are seemingly developing power that may be even more formidable than was that of the factory owners in the early industrial revolution.

Indeed, we are in the midst of a reorganization of our economy in which the platform owners are seemingly developing power that may be even more formidable than was that of the factory owners in the early industrial revolution.

The proliferation of labels is simply a reflection of the recognition that platforms are already having powerful consequences for society, markets, and firms, and that we are unclear about their dynamics and directions. Whatever we call the transformation, the consequences are dramatic.

Utopia or dystopia The debate about the impact of the platform economy is an extension of a discussion that began in the early days of the IT revolution, when figures such as Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs claimed that they were creating a future that would open the world to new possibilities and prospects.

For investors, inherently optimists, the question is how to build platforms, attract users, and then capture the value that is generated from the emerging ecosystem. Regardless of the platform, all of them are based on mobilizing human beings to contribute.

Whether it is Google monetizing our searches, Facebook monetizing our social networks, LinkedIn monetizing our professional networks, or Uber monetizing our cars, they all depend on the digitization of value-creating human activities. The optimistic version of the emerging techno-economic system suggests that society can be reconstituted with producers becoming proto-entrepreneurs able to work on flexible schedules and benefit from these platforms.

And this certainly will be the case for many. Advocates believe that all of this can occur for the greater social good without negative consequences. But can we really foresee all the repercussions of these new economic arrangements?

For example, platform businesses matching workers and tasks may make labor markets more efficient, but if they become pervasive and organize a significant portion of the work, they are at the same time likely to generate fragmented work schedules and increasing levels of part-time work without the employment-related benefits that previously characterized much employer-based full-time work.

For now, it is not clear whether these digital platforms are simply introducing digital intermediaries or actually increasing the extent of gig or contract work. Even as the digital era unfolded in its utopian phase in the s, there were skeptics who feared that the new technologies would result in unanticipated and undesirable consequences.

Vonnegut envisioned a digital future of material abundance—albeit a digital future of machines built with tubes, not semiconductors—with a radical social division between a highly credentialed and creatively employed elite and an underclass.

His dystopian vision is now finding full expression in the fear that digital machines, artificial intelligence, robots, and the like will displace work for a vast swath of the population.

The impact on employment and the character of work is certainly one element in assessing whether we will have a utopia or dystopia. In our view, that outcome is yet to be determined.

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