Platform-based business models (replaced by BUS473)

NBD412 Platform-based business models (replaced by BUS473)

Spring 2022

  • Topics

    Platform business models are not a new invention of the digital era. Platforms create value by facilitating transactions between two (or more) interdependent groups, and for a long time this has mainly happened in brick-and-mortar locations like bazaars, shopping malls or auction houses. With the rise of the Internet, transaction costs for connecting groups have dramatically declined, facilitating exchanges at an unprecedented scale. Unsurprisingly, many of the most valuable firms are platforms like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba or Visa. Understanding platform-based business models is crucial for successfully managing a platform business or creating an own start-up because they differ greatly from traditional (linear) business models and applying the economics of traditional firms to platforms will generally lead to misguided strategies and wrong implications.

    In this course, we draw on theoretical work to guide course participants in negotiating the challenges of platform-based business models, e.g. network effects and platform competition. While the course is not primarily technically focused, the technical aspects needed to understand firm behavior as well as the corresponding implications related to platforms will be covered and accompanied by relevant case studies presented in the context of leading examples of internet and technology platforms. During the course, we also touch upon issues like privacy and consumer tracking, as well as regulation.

    The course will, although not exclusively, be particularly valuable to three types of students: (i) those who plan taking management positions in platform businesses, especially in those where technology plays an important role; (ii) those who anticipate consulting, i.e. firm strategy analysis, for platform businesses; (iii) those who intend to work for a regulatory agency with a primary focus on the digital economy.

  • Learning outcome


    Upon successful completion the student

    • knows the common aspects of platform businesses
    • understands the difference between traditional firms and platforms
    • is informed about the relevant literature on platforms


    Upon completion of the course the student

    • can apply the general theoretical insights to identify specific platform-business challenges
    • can formulate applicable business strategies
    • has gained the ability to communicate business strategies convincingly

    General Competences

    Upon completion of the course the student

    • is able to understand complex problems and reduce them to their fundamental aspects
    • is capable of working effectively both alone and in groups

  • Teaching

    Lectures, group work, case discussion, guest lectures.

    The course can be followed digitally.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    No prior knowledge necessary.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Requirements for course approval


  • Assessment

    4 hour individual home exam.

    The exam language is English and all answers need to be given in English.

  • Grading Scale

    A - F

  • Literature

    General reading:

    • Evans D.S. (2011), Platform economics: Essays on multi-sided businesses. Competition Policy International.
    • Evans D.S. and R. Schmalensee (2016), Matchmakers: The new economics of multisided platforms. Harvard Business Review Press, Massachusetts.
    • Parker G.G., M.W. Van Alstyne and S.P. Choudary (2016), Platform revolution: How networked markets are transforming the economy and how to make them work for you. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York.

    Chapter-specific articles will be announce during the course.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered Spring 2022.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Mohammed Mardan, Department of Business and Management Science.