How Do Software Ecosystems Co-Evolve?

A View from OpenStack and Beyond
  • Jose Teixeira
  • Sami Hyrynsalmi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 304)


Much research that analyzes the evolution of a software ecosystem is confined to its own boundaries. Evidence shows, however, that software ecosystems co-evolve independently with other software ecosystems. In other words, understanding the evolution of a software ecosystem requires an especially astute awareness of its competitive landscape and much consideration for other software ecosystems in related markets. A software ecosystem does not evolve in insulation but with other software ecosystems. In this research, we analyzed the OpenStack software ecosystem with a focal perspective that attempted to understand its evolution as a function of other software ecosystems. We attempted to understand and explain the evolution of OpenStack in relation to other software ecosystems in the cloud computing market. Our findings add to theoretical knowledge in software ecosystems by identifying and discussing seven different mechanisms by which software ecosystems mutually influence each other: sedimentation and embeddedness of business relationships, strategic management of the portfolio of business relationships, firms values and reputation as a partner, core technological architecture, design of the APIs, competitive replication of functionality and multi-homing. Research addressing the evolution of software ecosystem should, therefore, acknowledge that software ecosystems entangle with other software ecosystems in multiple ways, even with competing ones. A rigorous analysis of the evolution of a software ecosystem should not be solely confined to its inner boundaries.


Business ecosystem Software ecosystem Evolution Open-source Openstack 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Åbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland
  2. 2.TTY Pori, Tampere University of TechnologyPoriFinland

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