Student Theses and Projects: Online Monopolies and the Genesis of European Consortia


Thesis (MA/DA); Reference-number: 2017-181

Advisor(s): Sebastian Hermes


The internet has become indispensable to all facets of business and Europe seems to have lost control of its digital infrastructure. Increasingly, platforms are operated and controlled by American MNEs like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. All of them demonstrate monopoly power as for example in cases of Microsoft in desktop software, Amazon in online sales and Google in search. Other examples of monopoly power are more concealed. For instance, Google's Mobile Applications Distribution Agreement gives Google almost complete power over which applications manufactures can and cannot place on an Android device. Regulators and policy makers are just beginning to address the power of platforms and their ability to restrict or destroy competition. Such online gateways are becoming more and more important as online sales, diagnostics, performance monitoring, updates and repairs are critical for both manufacturers and users. Some markets already indicate that the cost of online access to customers is the highest single cost of goods sold. In order to counteract American domination of the net, European companies have created diverse consortia. For example, NetID and Verimi for online login, Paydirekt for online payment or the European Processor Initiative to develop Europe's microprocessors for future supercomputers. The aim of the thesis is therefore to investigate the causes and emergence of such consortia, their justification in the context of illegal cartels, their expected outcomes as well as the underlying reasons for users to convert to these new services.


  • Conducting a literature review in the domain of IT and competitive advantage.
  • Conducting at least 10 interviews with members of European Consortia.
  • Conducting at least 10 interviews with users of services provided by European Consortia.
  • Determining the causes, expected effects, actual effects, and challenges of European Consortia and determining the reasons for users’ willingness to switch to the new services offered by European Consortia as well as users’ opportunities and challenges when using these services. 


  • High degree of autonomy and individual responsibility
  • Interest and experience in qualitative research
  • Very good grades and a good command of English language are beneficial 


Clemons, E. K., and Banattar, J. 2018. "Regulating Online Privacy: Some Policy Guidelines, Including Guidelines for International Harmonization," Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).

Clemons, E. K., Dewan, R. M., Kauffman, R. J., and Weber, T. A. 2017. "Understanding the Information-Based Transformation of Strategy and Society," Journal of Management Information Systems (34:2), pp. 425-456.

Edelman, B. 2015. "Does Google Leverage Market Power through Tying and Bundling?," Journal of Competition Law Economics (11:2), pp. 365-400.

Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D. K., & Mead, M. (1987). The case research strategy in studies of information systems. MIS quarterly, 369-386.

Yin, Robert K. Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Sage publications, 2017.

Frank, R.H. and Cook, P. J. The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us, Free Press (1995) pp. 288.

Further Information

The topic can be adopted according to your interests. The thesis can be written in English or German. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Please send your application including our application form, "Notenauszug" from TUMonline, and CV to Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents.