Governance of mobile service innovation after the walled gardens

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose ¿ This paper seeks to study how interorganizational governance mechanisms within mobile eco-systems are affected by the end of the walled gardens and what this implies for developing mobile internet services. Design/methodology/approach ¿ Starting from concepts on interorganizational governance, the paper conducts an extensive case study on how the Dutch walled garden i-mode portal evolved in an open WAP-based portal. Findings ¿ The transition of walled garden to open portals dramatically changes governance mechanisms between operator and content providers. Authority-based governance in the form of operator rules, contracts-based governance in the form of formalized agreements, and trust-based governance in the form of close collaboration all reduced following the end of the walled garden. Research limitations/implications ¿ The author demonstrates that theoretical concepts of interorganizational governance are relevant for actors within the mobile ecosystem to understand, next to regulatory, technical and market mechanisms, if they are to provide value to the customers as well as to the eco-system itself. Originality/value ¿ Although scholars often agree that the choice between walled gardens and open models will influence service innovation, existing studies do not systematically study how governance between operators and content providers changes when the mobile eco-system is transforming from walled gardens to open models. Although this paper focuses on the relation between operators and content providers, the power shift to hardware and platform providers implies that governance is still highly relevant. As walled gardens also emerge in other areas of ICT-enabled services, for instance in the Smart Living domain, the insights will be valuable for studies on ICT-enabled service industries as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-60
Number of pages18
JournalInfo: The journal of policy, regulation and strategy for telecommunications, information and media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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