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Digital Platforms (S)


Dozent/inProf. Dr. Daniel Fürstenau
KontaktpersonProf. Dr. Daniel Fürstenau
SemesterWintersemester 2021/22
Veranstaltungsumfang180 hours

Please register via Campus Management

Course description

The world is becoming digital and digitalization is changing the conditions for business across industries. Based on the enabling capacities of digital technologies, new businesses models emerge that are no longer simply supported by digital technologies, but that have digital components inseparably inscribed into their value proposition. In a survey, 86% of CEO’s said that advances in digital technologies will transform their business over the next five years. At the heart of this digital transformation rests an increased orientation towards digitally enabled platform-based business models with a different competitive model. Platforms comprise a large and rapidly growing share of the global economy. International giants, such as Facebook, Uber, Valve and Apple, are in the center of digital ecosystems that creates opportunities and challenges.

Many start-up and growth companies can today be found in the fast-growing businesses of digital marketing, app development, social media, online news and information services, and online innovation services. In addition, traditional businesses such as publishing, entertainment, healthcare and banking are facing an ongoing digitalization that drags them onto the digital arena – an economic arena with its own economic and competitive principles. Ranked by market value, 60 of the world’s 100 largest corporations earn at least half of their revenue from platform markets.

This course addresses the economic, organizational, and technical challenges of platform-based business models and the business ecosystems surrounding them.

Learning objectives

To achieve the grade 1.0 (“excellent”), students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:

  1. Identify and describe the specific characteristics of digital platforms and digital ecosystems.
  2. Describe and apply concepts, models, and economic principles of digital platforms.
  3. Analyze the opportunities and challenges for companies taking part in digital platform economy
  4. Explain the business and consequences of taking part of digital ecosystems.
  5. Reflect on current and potential future developments in the digital arena and develop suggestions on new business opportunities and challenges in the digital economy.

Learning activities

  • Lectures: online and block seminar
    • Pre-recorded videos with self-study exercises
    • Q&A sessions
  • Workshops: block seminar on campus (7.3.-12.3 & final presentation 25.3.)

Over 6 double units (comprising of pre-recorded online lectures and Q&A sessions, and workshops), a combination of lecture-mode instruction, case discussion, guest presentations, and project work will be used to enable students to identify and describe characteristics, concepts, models, and principles of digital economy and platform-based ecosystems.

Students are expected to take active part in the Q&A sessions and workshops, to capture the most current trends and developments in the area. There is a mandatory group assignment (mini-case with presentation in class) which involves the application of concepts, models, and economic principles of information economics in a German context, as well as description of (existing and future) opportunities and challenges in taking part in the digital economy.


  • Format: hand-in (15 pages report in groups) and oral exam (individual)

Target group

This elective course is open to master-level students of all study programs within and outside the Freie Universität Berlin esp. Business Information Systems, Business Administration and Computer Science.


Required: Parker, Geoffrey G., Van Alstyne, Marshall W. Choudry, Sangeet Paul (2016) Platform Revolution – How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Use of Them. ISBN 9780393249132

Further readings will be announced in the syllabus

Department Winfo
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