For those of you interested in software platforms, marketplaces, networks, ecosystems– whatever you want to call them–it was a big week for news of giant platforms doing battle in a variety of venues.
Smart Home Platforms
Photo courtesy of Cnet.
Google opened up its long-awaited effort to be the platform of choice for your home. Amazon already has a stake here as do Apple and Samsung! (I just bought a new home and have inherited pieces of all of these platforms plus Control4, Ring, and August.) This battle is raging in my home right now!
Trading Desk Platforms
I’ve written before about the battle between Bloomberg and the Google-backed bank consortium, Symphony. These companies are battling for control of the trading desktop. Upstart Symphony held its user conference this week, spawning a bunch of positive articles (see here and here). The gist of the coverage was: Symphony is getting traction and is not going to be the next MCX. (Cheap shot at the retailer payment consortium).
Procure to Pay Platforms
Who could fail to note that Coupa went public this week! Coupa’s stock ended its first day of trading with a market cap of more than $1.5 billion. (That’s about 1/3 of Ariba’s market cap when it sold to SAP just for reference.) Coupa, SAP Ariba, Basware, Sciquest, Tradeshift and many others are fighting to create the ultimate platform for indirect procurement spend.
Okay, there was no real new news in this market this week, but BusinessWeek had a great article about the battle waged in China between Uber and Didi Chuxing. The article is rich with detail on the strategies those two behemoths undertook before negotiating their truce (Uber surrender?) earlier this year.
Social Media Platforms
Twitter started the week looking like it would make a nice exit and ended the week looking like it might have only one bidder: Salesforce. Snapchat took up the Slack (no pun intended) in the social media space by appearing readying for its own blockbuster IPO.
Sales and Marketing Platforms
Salesforce is, of course, the ultimate SaaS platform in sales and marketing. Salesforce itself made news this week by holding its gigantic Dreamforce conference and challenging Microsoft’s right to potentially block its access to LinkedIn once Microsoft buys LinkedIn. So sales and marketing platforms belong on the list of platform newsmakers as well!
I’m probably forgetting a few other platform battles that made news this week. Feel free to add them in the comment section!
As long as capital is freely flowing, the IPO window is reasonably open, and investors perceive there to be “winner-take-all” aspects to these markets, we are going to continue to see these platform headlines. It’s a great time to be a platform nerd!