Products produce a single revenue stream, while platformswhich we define as intermediaries that connect two or more distinct groups of users and enable their direct interactioncan generate many. Indeed, a large number of the worlds most valuable companies by market capitalization in 2015 were platform companies, including five of the top 10 (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook). Although some of those companies started with platforms, many started with products: Amazon launched as a retailer in 1994 and six years later introduced Amazon Marketplace; Google began with a search engine in the mid-1990s and then introduced search advertising in 2000; and Apple created the iPod in 2001 but didnt move toward a platform until it developed the iTunes Store in 2003 and the App Store in 2008. Zhu and Furr Products to Platforms: Making the Leap HBR 2016)
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