Where does platform theory come from? What consequences does it have? This article offers one set of answers to these questions by looking at a body of platform theory that developed in Japan in the 1990s and arguably affected the rollout of internet-enabled mobile phones that were, in turn, models for the iPhone and Android phones several years later. Putting this body of theory in dialogue with managerial and economic theory of the platform from France and the United States, this article suggests an earlier genealogy of platform theory, a development that had immediate and long-lasting consequences for the contemporary media landscape.
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