Published November 14, 2022 | Version v1
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The Business of European Platforms How Digital Intermediaries in E-Commerce, Food Delivery, Health and Care, and Social Networking Manage Value and Compete


Digital platforms are powerful intermediaries that play an important role in shaping today’s economies and societies. In the eyes of both the public and regulators, the platform economy is defined by dominant companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft (GAFAM) – globally operating tech giants that each operate multiple platforms. These large platform companies are known for building and exploiting large indirect network effects (the more users, the higher the value of the platform for other users). They offer users convenient and now ubiquitous products that have become the infrastructures for the digital economy (such as app stores, search engines, messengers and social networks). Almost all the global platforms were created and are still headquartered in the United States and, more recently, China. o European platforms pursue the same business models as GAFAM, just on a smaller scale? Do European platforms mimic how GAFAM compete? This report is a first attempt to shed light on these questions. Focusing on e-commerce, food delivery, health and care, and social networking, we show that Europe is in fact a plural powerhouse when it comes to creating, delivering and capturing value in these industries.

This report presents findings from the research project Platform Alternatives, based at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford. The project is funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation. The authors acknowledge inputs from Lena Starke.


Spark Paper II_The Business of European Platforms.pdf

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