Is “becoming a platform business” just mass commoditisation of corporates?

We keep seeing a (normally peer-pressured and unmotivated) move of major businesses to become ‘platform’ businesses. To offer your clients more than the usual set of products that they started off with. Banks started offering airtime, airtime businesses starting offering banking services. Both offered insurance and then both tried to get into the entertainment business. Sound familiar?

1 — What happens to innovation at a core product level?

2 — How does “locking customers in” equate to client centricity?

3 — At what level is your business distinctive or differentiated?

4 — Do flattened cost rates mean floating poor quality products no-one uses?

We’ll soon be left with a set of gigantic slow-moving behemoth corporates offering everything from e-commerce to e-tv. And we’ll be locking it in to hardware choices that define who you can and can’t communicate with freely.

In a misguided attempt to be more valuable to client, I’m wondering if corporates will alienate their bases who will go back to the specialists, where they get the attention they need and and the quality of product they pay for.